Tag: The Cranberries

New Video: Rising British Singer-Songwriter Freya Beer Releases Hazy Visuals for Brooding “Arms Wide Open”

Freya Beer is an emerging London-born, Southern England-based singer/songwriter and guitarist who has received attention for a distinctive sound that draws from Kate Bush, Cat Power, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and others paired with poetic lyrics. Interestingly, Beer can trace the origins of her career to her childhood: she began writing songs when she was 10 and by the time she turned 16, she was performing her own original material, accompanying herself on guitar. 

While studying Music Performance in college, Beer self-released her debut single “Bike Boy” in 2018 to critical applause from BBC Introducing and a number of music blogs. Building upon a growing profile, the emerging British singer/songwriter and guitarist released “Six Months,” which led to a BBC Introducing Solent Live Lounge Session, a featuring on Tom Robinson’s BBC Radio 6 and BBC Wales.

Earlier this year, Beer released “Dear Sweet Rosie.” Featuring I Am Kloot’s Andy Hargreaves on drums, the song lyrically draws from Allen Ginsberg’s “An Asphodel” and Anna Sewell’s “Black Beauty” and is structurally centered around a classic, grunge rock song structure featuring  fuzzy power chords John Bonham-like drumming, an enormous hook, Beer’s sultry vocals and a swaggering self-assuredness that belies the rising artist’s relative youth. The track wound up receiving airplay with BBC Radio 6’s Lauren Laverne and Marc Riley, who invited Beer in for a live session. Beer’s second single of this year, the Pete Hobbs-produced “Arms Wide Open” is a brooding and cinematic track that features forceful and tribal drumming with longtime collaborator Andy Hargreaves, shimmering guitars, chiming tubular bells and Beer’s gorgeous and expressive vocals. And while subtly recalling PJ Harvey, Chelsea Wolfe and The Cranberries, the song reveals some ambitious yet powerfully earnest songwriting. 

“I tried to convey a ritual style sound accompanied by a tribal drumming beat which drives the track forward,” Beer says. “The tubular bells helped contribute towards the overall ceremonial atmosphere of the song. Lyrically, I’ve experimented with exploring the subject of talking about the darker undertones of a relationship.”

Directed by Paul Johnson, the recently released video is centered around a concept by Hevx that follows the rising British singer/songwriter through a series of kaleidoscopic filters and hazy effects. 

A Q&A with San Mei’s Emily Hamilton

I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual covering the Gold Coast, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Emily Hamilton, the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed and rising indie rock act San Mei over the years. Beginning as a synth pop-leaning bedroom recording project, Hamilton’s earliest material received attention from this site and major media outlets like NME, Indie ShuffleNYLON and Triple J. Her debut EP Necessary found the Aussie singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay moving towards a much more organic, guitar-led sound inspired by Black Rebel Motorcycle ClubCat Power, Feist and others.

A couple of years ago, Hamilton met acclaimed producer and musician Oscar Dawson at BIGSOUND, and the pair immediately hit it off.  According to Hamilton, taking Dawson on as a producer and collaborator found the duo refining ideas, exploring different soundscapes and laying down the foundation for her — and in turn, San Mei’s — sonic progression. As Hamilton explains in press notes “[Dawson and I] hit it off straight away and it seemed like he understood where I was coming from, even if I had trouble conveying certain ideas in the demos I made at home.” Hamilton’s Dawson-produced sophomore EP Heaven was a decidedly shoegazer-like affair, featuring arena rock friendly hooks, big power chords and shimmering synths that continued a run of critically applauded, blogosphere dominating material. Adding to a growing profile, last year Hamilton opened for the likes of G. FlipK. Fly, Ali Barter and Jack River in her native Australia, went on an extensive national headlining tour and played nine shows across six days at SXSW.

Released a few weeks ago through Sydney-based etcetc Records, Hamilton’s third San Mei EP Cry continues her ongoing collaboration with Oscar Dawson – and interestingly, the four song EP finds the Aussie JOVM mainstay simultaneously drawing from the harder guitar-driven work of  The Kills, Metric, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the synth-driven pop like Grimes and Lykke Li. Now, as you may recall, I recently wrote about EP title track “Cry,” a track which establishes the EP’s overall tone and tone – a hook-driven, shimmering take on dream pop centered around atmospheric synths, reverb-drenched guitars and what may arguably be her most direct and personal songwriting to date. And perhaps unlike her previously released material, the EP reveals an incredibly self-assured songwriting, crafting earnest and ambitious songwriting – all while building a larger international profile.

Earlier this week, I exchanged emails with the Gold Coast-based JOVM mainstay for this Q&A. Of course, current events have a way of bleeding into every aspect of our professional and professional lives – and naturally, I had to ask Hamilton how COVID-19 was impacting her and her career. But we also talk about her hometown (which is considered one of the more beautiful locales in the entire world), and its growing music scene, the new EP and more in a revealing chat. Check it out below.

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Photo Credit: Morgan Hamilton

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WRH: Here in New York, we’ve been social distancing and in quarantine for the past three weeks or so. How are things in Australia? How are you holding up?

Emily Hamilton: Firstly, I’m really sorry to see what’s happening in New York right now – my heart really goes out to everyone effected. I was actually in the USA around 2 weeks ago when lockdowns starting happening there. I managed to get home earlier than planned (straight into 14 days mandatory quarantine!), and Australia started following suit with social distancing, travel bans, closing non-essential business etc. pretty much as soon as I got back. I’ve got 2 days left of quarantine which is exciting — to be able to be out in the open air is gonna feel good! We have pretty strict social distancing rules here though, so I’ll still be playing it safe and spending most of my time at home once my quarantine is over.

WRH: How has COVID-19 impacted the Australian music scene? Has the pandemic affected you and your career? And if so, how?

EH: It’s hard having shows cancel and seeing venues having to close their doors. I had some shows lined up over the next couple of months that had to be cancelled, and prospects of touring in the near future don’t seem likely. I had a massive year of touring last year, so coming to terms with the fact that this year is probably going to look different is kinda hard. I know everyone in the Australian music scene is feeling the same way – and that we’re feeling the same things in music scenes around the globe. But it’s been inspiring to see so many artists pick themselves up, be innovative and find creative ways to make the best of the situation.
 

WRH: Most of my readers are based in the United States. As you can imagine, most Americans know very little about Australia, let alone your hometown. I think if you ask most Americans, they’ll tell you that it’s far (which is very true), they’ll mention the Sydney Opera House, kangaroos, koala bears and Steve Irwin. So as an American, what is Gold Coast known for? Where would I go to get a taste of how the locals live?

EH: It’s true, we’re so far away! I think that’s why Australians travel so much, because otherwise we’re just so isolated. I love my hometown; to me, it’s the perfect mix of city and surf town vibes – for someone who travels a lot for music, it’s nice to be based somewhere with a more chilled pace and open spaces. The Gold Coast is known mostly for its beautiful beaches, but we also have amazing rainforests with swimming holes and a beautiful hinterland. There has also been huge growth in hospitality, and there are so many amazing bars/restaurants/cafes popping up all over the place. So for anyone visiting I’d recommend checking out all the best nature spots and the best places to get a drink/feed.

WRH: Are there any Gold Coast-based artists that should be getting attention from the larger world that aren’t – and should be?

EH: The music scene on the Gold Coast has definitely grown over the last few years and there are a lot of exciting bands coming up. Eliza & The Delusionals are an amazing emerging band – they’ve actually just finished up a US tour supporting Silversun Pickups. They’re definitely on the rise and I think they’ll soon be getting that attention! Lastlings, Peach Fur, Ivey, Hollow Coves are just a few that are kicking goals and I’d love to see continue to grow in and outside of Australia.

WRH: For a country of about 27 million or so, how is it possible that so many Aussie artists, who make it to the States and elsewhere so damn good?

EH: I think being so far away can actually work in our favour in some ways! We have to be really, really good if we want our music to get out there in the world and have the means or opportunities to tour outside of our own country. I reckon that has created the kind of drive and work ethic for a lot of Aussie artists to keeping pushing and being the best we can be at our craft, to be able to break through the noise.

WRH: How did you get into music?

EH: I learnt classical piano when I was little (much to my dismay at the time!), which I’m really grateful for now as it’s such a good foundation for music. But I didn’t really get into writing songs or pursuing music until after high school when I met a group of friends who were musicians, and I just found myself getting caught up in it. It turned out I had a bit of a knack for songwriting and I’ve been focusing on getting better and better at it since!

WRH: Who are your influences?

EH: So many – but a few who come to mind are My Bloody Valentine, The Kills, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, [The] Jesus and Mary Chain, Warpaint, The Cranberries, Grimes, Lykke Li. . .  They’re all pretty diverse but I think I’m influenced by lots of different aspects of other artists’ songwriting/sound.

WRH: Who are you listening to right now?

EH: I’m loving Cherry Glazerr, Best Coast, Connan Mockasin, Kacey Musgraves, Tame Impala, Moon Duo. . . so many more but these guys are on high rotation at the moment.

WRH: I’ve written about you quite a bit over the years. When you started out, San Mei was bedroom synth pop project. But after meeting songwriter, producer and musician Oscar Dawson at BIGSOUND, you – and in turn, San Mei – went through a decided change in sonic direction, which is reflected on both the Heaven EP and your recently released Cry EP. How has it been working with Dawson? How influential has he been on the project’s sonic development?

EH: I’ve always so appreciated your support! It means the world to an emerging artist like me to have that consistent engagement and encouragement from someone! Working with Oscar has been amazing, and I’ve learned a lot from him. I’ve always come to him with fully realised songs/demos. I usually write and track all the guide parts at home first. But Oscar has a way of bringing out the best in my songs and just making them sound better haha… so he has never really been pushy or opinionated in shaping my sound, but I’ve learned a lot from him in terms of refining things and making smart decisions in both the songwriting and production process.

WRH:  With San Mei leaning more towards a guitar-based sound, how has your songwriting process changed?

EH: Even as my sound became a little more guitar-driven, I continued to stick with my usual writing process – open up Logic, find a simple drum groove, play along ‘til I find a good riff or chord progression… but lately I’ve been trying to challenge myself in writing songs start to finish on just an acoustic guitar. I want my songs to be able to stack up when they’re played on just a guitar or piano without relying on any production. I’ve been finding that the production falls into place a lot more easily when I write this way, because the songwriting itself has to be strong, and helps lead the way in what should be built around it. I won’t be limiting myself to this process only, but finding new ways to create has been really cool.

WRH: While possessing the big and rousingly anthemic hooks that we heard on Heaven EP, your latest EP features the guitar-led, arena rock anthem “Hard to Face,” the shimmering, New Wavey-like “Cherry Days” “Cry” and “Love in the Dark.” As much as I hear Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Kills, Grimes, Lykke Li and others, I also hear a bit of Prince in there, too. What inspired this new sonic direction? Was it intentional?

EH: That’s really interesting! Admittedly I haven’t listened to a lot of Prince (I probably just haven’t put in the time to become a fan!), but it’s cool to hear that reference. I couldn’t tell you a specific influence for where my sound has been heading, but I have been focusing on strengthening my identity as an artist, and recognising what my strengths are in my writing, and just making sure I write whatever comes out of me naturally and not try to sound like anything in particular. I’m still a work in progress with that, but I think that’s what has been shaping my sound.

WRH: “Hard to Find” is one of my favorite songs on the EP. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

EH: Cool! I really love this song. I called it my bratty moment. At the time of writing it, I was in a bit of a rut mentally with my music, career, future… I kept looking around at what everyone else was doing and thinking they were all kicking goals and I wasn’t. So, I just needed to let out my frustration and have a good whine in form of a song. It’s also a good reminder of me to not be that person, because we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to others, and having gratitude for the present is so important in having a healthy mind.

WRH: How did the video treatment for “Cry” come about?

EH: The song theme itself is a little melancholy to me – it’s about longing for more in life or for a better day, of always wanting to get to that next stage in life or achieving that next goal. It’s good to have drive, but for me I often get caught up in the future and sometimes I worry that I’ll wish my youth and time away instead of enjoying the present. But I wanted the video to feel light, wistful and more like a daydream, and to focus on the freedom we can find by enjoying the present and finding joy in everyday moments. I think Dom the director did a great job of capturing that feeling.

WRH: What’s next for you?

EH: I’m definitely not going to be slowing down – I’ve got lots of more music to release, and as soon as we’re allowed to play shows again, I’ll be playing as many as physically possible. Stay tuned! 😀

 

The People Versus is an Oxford, UK-based chamber pop quintet — currently comprised of Alice, Benedict, Danny, Jack and Sean — that can trace its origins to a spontaneously combination of each of its members previous collaborations and projects. Essentially, the project features four singer/songwriters and former lead singers, whose combined vocals and instrumental parts form a perfect vehicle for their lead singer, Alice’s vocals.

Interestingly, while centered on narrative songwriting, the band’s material thematically focuses on love, loss and dreams while drawing from Greek myths and Shakespeare. The up-and-coming British act’s latest single, the hauntingly gorgeous “Ground Opening” features Alice’s beguiling vocals, a shimmering arrangement of acoustic guitar, soaring strings,  a stunning multi-part harmony and a rousing hook that gives the song a cinematic air. To my ears, their latest single reminds me quite a bit of The Cranberries‘ smash hit “Linger” but with a folksy yet classical leaning. As the band explains, the song is a re-telling of the ancient Greek myth of Hades and Persephone, which explains the turn of the seasons but while touching upon love and power dynamics in romantic relationships.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johanna Cranitch is an Australian-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer and the creative mastermind behind the electro pop project White Prism. Cranitch grew up in a deeply musical home, where she was immersed in music for most, if not all of her life. Her father was a priest-in-training, who used to sing Gregorian chants around the house — and as the story goes, when Cranitch was a small child, her Hungarian-born father, a jazz pianist. gave her his blessing by openly declaring that “this one will be musical.”

Her parents encouraged her to go to the Kodaly School of Music, where she was classically trained as a vocalist and as a musician. When she was nine, Cranitch performed at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Opera Australia Children’s Chorus. But like most young people, she had a love of pop music – especially Kate Bush, Fleetwood Mac, New Order, and others.  After graduating from high school, Cranitch went on to attend the Australian Institute of Music, where she studied jazz vocals and graduating with honors.

After a stint performing in her native Australia, Cranitch relocated to New York, where she cut her teeth as an assistant recording engineer, writing and recording several hundred demos before joining The Cranberries and The CardigansNina Persson as a touring background vocalist and keyboardist. Many of those demos that she wrote and recorded during her stint as a recording engineer, wound up appearing the debut effort of her first solo recording project, Johanna and the Dusty Floor. While as a member of The Cranberries’ touring band, Cranitch spent a lot of her off-time in Iceland, which helped influenced her latest project White Prism, a project that she saw as much-needed reboot.

Several years have passed since I’ve personally written about Cranitch and as it turns out, the Aussie-born singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer relocated to Los Angeles. where she’s been primarily been working as a producer. Recently, she finally has had the time to release the music she has been working on over the past couple of years — material that continues to be heavily influenced by the aforementioned Kate Bush, Phil Collins, Cocteau Twins and Joni Mitchell among others. And while being e decidedly synth-based, her work is centered around lyrics that frequently tell stories of love and loss, triumph and failure. 

“Good Man,” is the first new batch of White Prism material in several years. Centered around a sleek and modern production featuring shimmering and arpeggiated bursts of synth, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, martial-styled drumming, Cranitch’s plaintive vocals and an infectious hook, the song manages to be carefully crafted yet rooted in the sort of vulnerability and earnestness  that comes from lived-in experience. Interestingly, “Good Man” is the first single Cranitch every really produced — and came about as a necessity: she didn’t have the budget to hire a producer, so she set about learning how to record and make sounds on her own computer. She then enlisted the assistance of producer and composer Matt Wigton to bring the material home.

“’Good Man’is about fighting for love, for what you believe in and ultimately being on the right side of history,” the Aussie-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer explains in press notes. “I wrote ‘Good Man’ after a difficult period with my then-husband. I was reflecting on our differences and right when I was writing the lyrics, the news came on that Trump had started to attack the health care bill in the courts effectively taking away transgender rights to the health care act. It felt like a very ominous sign of things to come. We were all recovering from the election still and this felt like such an assault on freedom in America.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Eliza Shaddad Releases 90s Rom-Com Inspired Visuals for “Just Goes To Show”

With the release of her first two EPs Run and Waters, the London-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Eliza Shaddad quickly rose to international prominence, receiving praise from a number of major media outlets including The Fader, Nylon, Stereogum, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash, The 405, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra, Beats 1 Radio and countless others for a sound that some have compared to the likes of PJ Harvey, Cat Power and others.

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the acclaimed British singer/songwriter, and as you may recall, Shaddad’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Future is slated for an October 26, 2018 release through Beatnik Creative. Earlier this year, I wrote about Future‘s second single “My Body,” a moody track featuring shoegazer-like atmospherics and a dark, seductive, trip hop-inspired groove that evoked a plaintive and uncertain need. “This Is My Cue” the album’s third single continued in a similar vein as its predecessor — moody atmospherics but centered around a candid and ironically rousing breakup song.

Future‘s fourth and latest single “Just Goes to Show” continues a run of atmospheric tracks with a deceptively anthemic nature but much like its immediate predecessor, the track is deeply confessional and unabashedly honest description of the desperate, uneasy feelings of a breakup –but from the perspective of the person being left behind to deal with the aftermath. And while some have compared the song to The Cranberries,Wolf Alice and Marika Hackman, the song isn’t completely dire as it (subtly) suggests that life and one’s heart does go on after a while.

Directed by Patrick Taylor, the recently released video was shot in one of Shaddad’s favorite venues in London, specifically decorated to fit, along with some willing friends and family as extras “(My little (big) bro is in it, and my cousins, in fact it’s a repeat performance from one:) The costume and hair and make up teams worked total miracles on all of us and then we channeled our inner teenagers and the result is something completely and bananasly different for me.” Of course, the video features Shaddad at a painfully awkward and terrible 90s-like prom, complete with its attendees doing sad two-steps, while the video’s protagonist sit off to the side singing the song before being asked to dance — while capturing the innermost thoughts, desires and frustrations of teenagers. Interestingly, as Shaddad says, the “song has always felt like the kind of thing that would be playing in one of those terrible but incredible 90s movies prom scenes and so I was dying to make a video played on that.” 

Initially founded four years ago as Powwers, the Seattle, WA-based indie rock trio Wild Powwers, comprised of Lara Hilgeman (guitar, vocals), Lupe Flores (drums, vocals) and Jordan Gomes (bass), have developed a reputation for specializing in a nuanced take on the classic Pacific Northwest grunge sound as their material routinely nods at psych rock. And with the release of two critically applauded albums, 2014’s Doris Rising and 2016’s Hugs and Kisses and Other Things, both of which were followed by extensive national touring with the likes of The Fall of Troy, Kylesa, Dilly Dally,  Helms Alee and No Age, as well as festival appearances at SXSW and Savannah Stopover, the Seattle-based trio saw a rapidly expanding national profile.

Recored and mixed by Billy Anderson, who has worked with Melvins, Neurosis and Jawbreaker; and mastered by Ed Brooks, who has worked with Pearl Jam, Heart and REM, Wild Powwers’ third full-length album Skin is slated for an October 12, 2018 release through Nadine Records — and the album’s latest single ” Buff Stuff” finds the band furthering their reputation for crafting that familiar and beloved grunge rock sound, complete with enormous, arena rock friendly hooks, chugging power chords and thunderous drumming and an expansive, twisting and turning song structure; but the song to my ears also nods at The Cranberries and others, as the track is centered by Hillman’s belting, powerhouse vocals. As the band says, “‘Buff Stuff’ is about a tsunami (emotionally or literally) — a great natural force that can completely wipe the slate clean, often violently. This song is about watching the chaos and trying to avoid it all and stay above water, but eventually it gets everything.”

 

 

 

With the release of their debut single “Johnny,” the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada-based indie rock trio Basement Revolver, comprised of Chrisy Hurn (guitar, vocals), Nimal Agalawatte (bass) and Brandon Munro (drums) saw a rapid career trajectory as they received praise from the likes of DIY Magazine, The FADER and Exclaim! for a sound that draws from 90s alt rock and dream pop — but paired with deeply personal, yearning lyrics. Adding to a growing profile, the band released a handful of Hype Machine, chart topping songs which resulted in the Canadian indie rock trio amassing more than one million streams of their songs.

Recorded at TAPE Studio, where they recorded their first two EPs, their Adam Bentley and Jordan Mitchell-produced full-length debut Heavy Eyes is slated for an August 24, 2018 release through Fear of Missing Out Records and Sonic Unyon Records, and as the band’s Chrisy Hurn explains in press notes, recording in a comfortable environment allowed them to not only hone the sound that has won them international attention, it allowed them freedom to get heavy or more laid-back when the song required it; but perhaps more important, as Hurn says, “It also gave me the confidence as a writer to not take myself so seriously, to let myself get cheesy or goofy with some songs.”

“Dancing,” the buzz-worthy Canadian indie rock trio’s latest single finds the duo pairing buzzing and distorted power chords, propulsive drumming, a soaring hook and yearning lyrics within a song that sounds as though it were influenced by The Cranberries and PJ Harvey — and while subtly uptempo, it manages a buzzing and brooding nature. As the band’s Hurn explains of the song, When I’m feeling down, I like to borrow a car and drive until I am lost – it makes me feel better and distracts me a little. So, yeah, break out of your shell and dance… or get some fresh air.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consisting of Paulina Palmgren, Fabian Ballago, Samuel Collmar,  Karl Hovmark and Johan Nilsson, La Lusid is a Swedish indie rock act that has received attention in their homeland for a melancholy yet dreamy sound that draws from the 60s and 70s music. The Swedish indie rock quintet’s latest single “Empty Bones,” which features a lush arrangement featuring shimmering guitars gently fed through reverb and delay pedal, twinkling keys and a driving rhythm section centered around a gorgeous vocal and a soaring hook; however, to my ears, the band’s sound reminds me quite a bit of Mazzy Star, The Cranberries and The Cardigans, complete with a carefully crafted, radio friendly vibe.

 

 

New Video: The Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for Living Hour’s “Seagull”

As you’ll hear on “Seagull,” the first single off the band’s full-length debut released earlier this year, the band’s overall sound manages to possess elements of shoegaze, dream pop and chillwave as shimmering and jangling guitar pop, swirling synths, ethereal vocals are paired together to craft a stunningly gorgeous and dramatic sound; in fact, the song reminds me quite a bit of the sort of guitar rock you’d hear while watching 120 Minutes-era MTV — in particular think of Mazzy Star‘s “Fade Into You” and The Cranberries “Linger.” Or in other words, it’s the sort of song that sounds as though it would be the soundtrack of an intense and fervent make out session — or a dramatic and bitter breakup.

Directed and edited by Nicholas Taylor, the recently released music video for “Seagull,” is a gorgeous and cinematically shot video that captures a day in a life of a teenaged girl and her family as they eat dinner, go to soccer practice and the rest of the banal and mundane aspects of life — but just underneath the surface, there’s something off: the mother of the trio seems moodily distracted, as though still recovering from a massive and inconsolable loss while the girls seem to be desperate to try to move on as best as they could.