Tag: The National

New Audio: Carriers Returns with a Deeply Personal, New Single

Curt Kiser is a Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter, who skipped college and spent the past few years playing in a number of nationally touring bands, and during that same period of time, Kiser has been meticulously crafting his proper debut as a songwriter and solo artist — in step with his own personal development. Kiser started his latest project Carriers back in 2014 and the project found him working with a collection of friends and associates including The National‘s Bryan Devendorf and The Afghan Whigs‘ John Curley, who have helped him bring his sound and vision to life. 

Kiser’s Carriers full-length debut  Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else is slated for an August 23, 2019 release through Good Eye Records, and the album thematically speaking finds Kiser taking stock of life, death and his relationships — while being grateful for being around another day. “Overall it’s about what we have and remaining present, while still being able to have an honest perspective of the past and our future,” Kiser explains in press notes. “I’ve personally found a lot of peace in just working hard and staying focused on what I’ve got going on, trusting, rather than being consumed with striving. This record process has taught me a lot about patience. Life will continue to teach me to have more. I’m just trying to accept what happens and handle it the best I can. Patience is forever.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about album track “Patience” an anthemic and brooding track that sonically brought Springsteen and JOVM mainstays Caveman, while focusing on finding peace and calm in trusting the natural rhythms of life, rather than being consumed with relentless striving; of focusing on the fact that things sometimes happen within their own time and pace. Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else’s latest single, the Dire Straights-like “Another Guy” is a shimmering and brooding bit of pop centered around an uptempo arrangement, a soaring hook and deeply personal, confessional songwriting. 

“When you’re writing a song and in the midst of capturing what is inspiring it, you usually don’t think about anything else but just staying focused on that moment and letting the song appear and become realized. At least, that’s how it happens for me,” Curt Kiser says in a lengthy statement. 

“‘Another Guy’ is a song that I knew I needed to write but I never knew if anyone else would really hear it beyond some close friends and family. It’s a song about a dream I had that holds a lot of weight and significance for me. While trying to tell the story of this one, I’ve had trouble coming up with the right words to do so. How do you explain a spiritual encounter and fully convey what it meant for you?

“I was lifted into the air, saw a statue of Jesus break apart, come to life and we had a conversation. It was pretty weird. I think I’m okay with letting this song speak for itself. It was a dream. It was extremely vivid. It changed my life & my overall outlook of myself and the depths of the supernatural realm. It opened me up to new possibilities and something I had never been shown before while also confirming some things I’ve held as truth.

I know what it means for me and when people hear this song, I hope that you can feel something similar to what I felt while having the encounter and that it changes the atmosphere wherever you are.” 

“All the drum parts were worked out in a series of rehearsals with Curt in an old crumbling factory over the course of one winter,” Bryan Devendorf says of the song’s creation. “I didn’t know it at the time but we were a couple buildings up from a locally important studio where we would eventually record the drums for Carriers the next summer. 

“My first drum teacher, Steve Earle (not the singer-songwriter), had recorded at Ultrasuede many years before with the Afghan Whigs. I was fortunate to get in there too before it closed. Shag carpet, parquet floor, and cedar paneling defined the live room whose centerpiece was the studio’s original name — QCA STUDIOS — emblazoned on wall-mounted shag. Nice, warm, and low lit. 

“Adding to the cosmic ‘circularness’ of the situation, the bassist on the Carriers sessions John Curley, bassist in the Afghan Whigs. It was pretty wild for me there, setting up drums while John set up mics, me thinking back to my early days, seeing Whigs shows and practicing drums in my parent’s basement and suddenly there I was…. 

“‘Another Guy’ like all the Carriers tracks I worked on was a really fun challenge — I really had to work hard to get all the forms down, half bars, etc. Curt, why do you need half bars?!!! 

“The demo version of “Another Guy” was recorded in the control room at Ultrasuede in July of 2015.,” John Curley adds. “It was just Curt playing acoustic guitar and singing. The demo is slower than the version on the record and it has an almost melancholy vibe to it.

“As I remember it, the song began to grow into its current form when we recorded it with Bryan. It became more of a pop song. The tempo picked up and we changed the arrangement somewhat. The bass part I was hearing in my head came together for me when we played it with drums. I really like the tight snare fills that he throws in.

“It was cool to see how the songs on this record evolved from the early demos into what you hear on the record. Curt encouraged everyone involved to contribute something unique and gave us the space to do that.”

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Up-and-coming Copenhagen, Denmark-based noise rock act why sun have begun to develop a reputation across their native Denmark for a dark and melancholic sound, which they’ve dubbed sleepy noise, and references acts like Suicide, The National and The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Building upon a rapidly growing national profile, the act comprised of Rasmus Kjærsgaard Velling, Lasse Skydsgaard Knigge and Julius Emil Brinck released their latest EP Frugte (the Danish word for fruit) earlier this year. The EP features two critically applauded singles: “Eastern Love” and their latest single, “Traffic,” a slow-burning, lysergic-tinged, shoegazer dirge, centered around layers of reverb-drenched guitar chords, thumping almost industrial-like drumming and rumbling baritone vocals. Interestingly, the track — to me, at least — evokes lazy, downright sleepy summer afternoons, aimlessly daydreaming.

  

 

 

 

Manchester UK-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Till is the creative mastermind of the buzz worthy dark wave recording project Ghosts of Social Networks. Citing the likes of The Cure, Bauhaus, Echo and the Bunnymen, Nick Cave, The National and Radiohead, the project according to Till upcycles old-school forms of songwriting while applying a fresh sonic veneer to them, reportedly pairing innovation with a timeless sense of melodicism.

Till’s Ghost of Social Networks debut single “Love Potion” began a string of acclaimed singles praised for their production and overall sound from the likes of BBC Introducing, several zines across the UK and the blogosphere — and he’s received airplay from Steve Lamacq‘s program and BBC 6 Music. All of this built up quite a bit of buzz before the release of his debut EP, My Lucifer.  Interestingly, Till’s latest Ghost of Social Networks single “Don’t Let Me Down” manages to effortlessly recall Heaven Up Here-era Echo and the Bunnymen, as its centered around a brooding and forceful rhythm section, angular guitar lines, an anthemic hook, the song captures a tempestuous and swooning love affair — the sort in which the song’s narrator may recognize will end in disaster.

 

Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter Curt Kiser skipped college and has spent the past few years playing in a number of bands that have toured across the US — and during that time, Kiser has been meticulously crafting his proper debut as a songwriter in step with his own personal development. In 2014, Kiser started his latest project Carriers, which found him working with a collective of friends and associates including The National‘s Bryan Devendorf and The Afghan Whigs‘ John Curley to bring his sound and vision to life.

Slated for an August 23, 2019 release through Good Eye Records, Kiser’s Carriers’ full-length debut Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else thematically finds Kiser taking stock of life, death, his relationships — while being grateful for being another day. “Overall it’s about what we have and remaining present, while still being able to have an honest perspective of the past and our future,” Kiser explains in press notes. “I’ve personally found a lot of peace in just working hard and staying focused on what I’ve got going on, trusting, rather than being consumed with striving. This record process has taught me a lot about patience. Life will continue to teach me to have more. I’m just trying to accept what happens and handle it the best I can. Patience is forever.”

“Patience,” Now Is The Time For Loving Me, Yourself & Everyone Else‘s latest single is an anthemic and brooding track, centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric synths, a propulsive bass line and some mesmerizing percussion — and while to my ears, bearing a resemblance to Springsteen and JOVM mainstays Caveman, the reflective track focuses on finding peace and calm in trusting the natural rhythms of life, rather than being consumed with striving; things take their own time — with the recognition that sometimes that’s best.

 

 

 

New Video: Jo Schornikow’s Serene Meditation on Loss

Jo Schornikow is a Melbourne, Australia-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and pianist with a backstory rich of unexpected and profound experiences: Beginning as a church organist and jazz-trained pianist, Schornikow eventually relocated to New York, where she worked as an accompanist for the likes of Hugh Jackman, Bobby Rydell, and Lana Del Rey among others. She has also collaborated with King Creosote, The National, and Kelli Scarr before settling into a steady role as a touring member of Phosphorescent. 

With her partner, Phosphorescent’s Mathew Houck, Schonrikow had two children in quick succession in 2014 and 2015. The longtime musician-turned-mom took to songwriting to deal the life-altering and dramatic changes within every aspect of her life, including a new set of priorities and schedules, a spontaneous move from New York to Nashville — and perhaps most important, openly admitting and confronting the fact that for her, motherhood wasn’t the immediately satisfying and fulfilling experience that many describe; that for her, motherhood was centered by wonder, fear and compromise in every aspect of her life. Schornikow’s forthcoming, full-length debut Secret Weapon is informed by and was created in the heavily weighted wake of motherhood — and sonically, the album’s material reportedly falls in the intersection of pop, shoegaze and ambient experimental music. In fact, the gorgeously restrained album single “Ghosts” is built around subtly swelling synths, shimmering guitars and Schornikow’s serene vocals — and while being a decided contract to the chaos of being a mother of two young children, the song evokes a complex and messy array of emotion: joy, wonder, guilt, remorse, awe, fear, and the feeling of being a ghost stuck in one’s past. 

Animated, directed, and edited by Michael Hughes, the recently released video for “Ghosts” is a gorgeous and subtle take, displaying mundane aspects of daily life —  gatherings of friends and loved ones, cooking and chatting with a loved one in the kitchen and so on with a smoldering sense of loss of all the small things one once enjoyed.

Schornikow’s full-length debut is slated for a March 29, 2019 release through Keeled Scales/Secretly Distribution.

New Video: Up-and-Coming Danish Artist Selma Judith Releases Vulnerable Visuals for Intimate, Debut Single “Kind Of Lonely”

Selma Judith is a heavily tattooed Copenhagen-Denmark-based harpist, who was best known for collaborating with The National’s Arron and Bryce Dessner, Vera, and MØ among others; however, with the release of her debut single”Kind Of Lonely,” the Danish harpist has revealed that she specializes in a delicate, woozy yet swooning and heartfelt electro R&B, centered around a production of stuttering beats, Selma Judith’s self-assured and sultry vocals, ethereal synths and a sinuous, Quiet Storm-like hook. As the up-and-coming artist says of the song, “Sometimes you love someone ‘despite of…’, instead of ‘because of…’. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the emotions we feel for the person are any weaker – it can be quite the contrary. This kind of relationship can reach wuthering heights, but although the view might be grand and beautiful, the fall is further down. The thin air up in these clouds is addictive, but in the long run, it can really damage you.”

Directed by Masha Koppel, the recently released video was shot in single take and captures Selma Judith in an incredibly simple, intimate, vulnerable fashion  — a young woman in her apartment, playing with her cat, singing along to her song before moving to her bathroom to undress and shower, before ending with her casually smoke a cigarette out of her window.

Theodore is a critically applauded, Athens, Greece-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and composer, whose schooling in piano and traditional Greek folk music eventually led to a professional music career in London, where he studied Music Composition in 2011. As a composer and singer/songwriter, Theodore meshes classical compositions and arrangements with subtle electronic production and rock instrumentation to create a sound that’s atmospheric, cinematic that nods at psych rock, prog rock and experimental rock — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist cites Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Manos Hadjidakis, Vangelis Papathanasiou, Nils Frahm, The National, Olafur Arnalds and Max Richter as being major influences on his work and sound. “I like a composer or a band because when I listen to the music or attend a concert I am just getting lost in the atmosphere,” Theodore explains in press notes. “I understand that orchestral music is something that I am really into and I will try to test my self in the future.”

Theodore has written compositions for Matina Megla’s Window, Vladan Nikolic’s film Bourek and he was commissioned to write a new, live score for Buster Keaton’s classic, 1928 silent comedy The Cameraman, which he and his band performed during  a screening at the Temple of Zeus. But interestingly enough, his sophomore album It Is But It’s Not, which was performed live at London’s Abbey Road Studio 2 has been his breakthrough effort as the accompanying performance video has amassed more than 2 million YouTube views — and as a result, the Greek composer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has played sets at some of the world’s biggest festivals, including Reeperhbahn Festival, Eurosonic Nooderslag, Release Festival and SXSW. Adding to a growing profile, he has opened for Sigur Ros and DIIV, and has received praise from a number of major media outlets, including Clash Magazine, Music WeekTsugi, FGUK, Gaffa and Szene, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne. Oh, and I must add that “Towards (for what is to come)” is currently playlisted on NPR’s All Songs 24/7 and Germany’s Flux Passport Approved.

Theodore’s third, full-length album Inner Dynamics is slated for a November 2, 2018 release and the album finds him thematically looking inward to examine the dichotomies (and dualities) of his identity in order to seek new creative potential. “On It Is But It’s Not, I tried to explore how the opposite elements in the universe interact, how they fight and how without the one you can’t have the other.” Theodore says, adding, “For Inner Dynamics, I was trying to express my urge to connect the conscious and subconscious part of myself so I can be creative. It’s an understanding that humans are not just one thing, and they shouldn’t try to hide certain elements of their personality because society likes to put labels of who we are. It’s the different sides of my self that makes who I am.” Inner Dynamics‘ third and latest single “Disorientation” clocks in at a little over 6 minutes, and it finds Theodore’s sound nodding at dramatic film scores, Kid A and Amnesiac-era Radiohead-like atmospherics, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Rush-like prog rock expansiveness, centered around Theodore’s yearning vocals and slick production.

 

New Video: The Brooding and Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for The Color Forty Nine’s “I Will”

Comprised of little white teeth’s and maquiladora’s Phil Beaumont, The Black Heart Procession’s James Hooper, The Black Heart Procession’s,  The Album Leaf’s and The John Meeks Band’s Matt Resovich and The John Meeks Band’s John Meeks, the San Diego, CA-based indie act The Color Forty Nine features a collection of multi-instrumentalists, who have actively strayed from their previous roles to find new musical connections to songwriting; in fact, the band’s frontman and primary songwriting Beaumont, by happenstance picked up a baritone ukulele to travel with more easily and as a result, was how he began writing the songs of their debut album; Resovich plays violin and Casiotone through self-built effects pedals; Hooper, a highly sought-after drummer, plays bass; and Meeks, who fronts his own band, plays drum, filling out the band’s rhythm section. 

The band’s self-titled EP is slated for  June 15, 2018 through Darla Records and the EP, which was written and recored over the past 9 months or so, features a handful of songs that borrow from autobiographical moments with other songs featuring semi-fictional tales of real and imaginary characters encountered from both sides of the border, Beaumont’s lyrics reportedly explore the notion that we all seek refuge, in places, moments and people with whom or from whom, we sometimes want to escape. Interestingly, the EP’s first single,  the gorgeously mournful “I Will” a single that the band says speaks to the idea of finding anonymity within a crowd, as well as allowing ourselves to accept and celebrate the foibles of human nature — while being somewhat confessional and heartbreakingly earnest and vulnerable in a way that modern music sometimes just isn’t and can’t be.  Sonically, the song manages to be reminiscent of Boxer and High Violet-era The National thanks to an old-timey feel paired with novelistic lyrics; however, the song takes a leisurely pleasure in small things — drinks with old friends, wandering around lost and seeking something more, even when you have no idea of what exactly it is, of feeling small and insignificant and not knowing why. 

Directed by frequent collaborator and filmmaker Grant Reinero. the recently released video for “I Will” was on shot in a gorgeously cinematic black and white on location at the Bar Copacabana in Tijuana, Mexico, and the video features the members of the band drinking and playing in the bar, including a pensive Beaumont, scribbling the song’s lyrics in a small notebook at the bar, and stars a local bar patron, Alicia, who drinks beer and puts songs on the jukebox. Each individual is lonely and while lost in their own thoughts and regrets, they’re desperate to seek solace and refuge in another.