Tag: The Sundays

New Video: Austin-based JOVM Mainstays Blushing Release a Hazy and Mind Bending Visual for “So Many”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Austin, TX-based dream pop/shoegaze quartet Blushing and the act — comprised of two married couples — Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Noe Carmona (guitar, keys) and Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Jake Soto (drums) — can trace its origins back to 2015, when after spending several years of writing material on guitar, Michelle Soto recrutied her classically trained friend Christina Carmona to join her new project. Shortly after the band’s founding duo started the band, they recruited their spouses to complete the band’s lineup.

The then-newly formed quartet spent the next year writing and revising material Bad Wolf Recordings to record their debut EP Tether, which was released to positive reviews across the blogosphere, including this site. Building upon a growing profile, the Austin-based shoegazers returned to the studio to record their sophomore EP Weak, an effort that further cemented their reputation for crafting material indebted to Lush, Cocteau Twins and The Sundays — while revealing a gentle refinement of the sound that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere.

The Austin-based JOVM mainstays ended last year with the release of the Elliot Frazier-produced and mixed “The Truth”/”Sunshine” 7 inch, which was released both digitally and on colored vinyl through The Nothing Song Records. That single found the band further expanding upon their sound with “The Truth” being one of the more muscular songs of their growing catalog while retaining a hazy vibe. Adding to a growing profile, the members of Blushing have shared stages with the likes of Snail Mail, Sunflower Bean, La Luz, BRONCHO, Illuminati Hotties, Yumi Zouma and others.

Now, as you may recall, this year may arguably be one of the biggest years of the band’s relatively short history: they made their second SXSW appearance this year, and the band’s highly-anticipated, self-titled full-length debut is slated for a September 6, 2019 release through Wallflower Records here in the States and on CD through Hands and Moment Records in Japan. “Dream Merchants,” the album’s first single was a woozy and swirling track that continued in a similar vein of “The Truth” — and while centered around the dual, ethereal harmonizing of Christina Carmona and Michelle Soto, the track evokes the sensation of a vivid yet half-remembered dream. 

“So Many,” the debut album’s latest single begins with a brooding and wistful intro centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars and the dual, ethereal harmonizing of Christina Carmona and Michelle Soto before turning into a turbulent and towering storm, revealing a band that can balance explosive noise with gorgeous melodicism. Interestingly, the song lyrically was inspired by the vicious cycle of frustration and defeat that Michelle witnessed her son go through while dealing with attention and concentration issues in school. Her son’s struggles forced her to realize that she also struggled through many of the same obstacles in her own daily life. 

Interestingly, the recently released video is hazy, Memento-like visual in which the timeline at points run forwards and backwards, as it focuses on the Polaroid pictures of several mundane, daily moments in the life of its protagonist. Underneath the photos, someone has written a line of the song’s lyrics — and we see them thrown into a metal bowl, as someone lights them on fire. The video manages to evoke the sense of frustration, defeat and procrastination that frequently affects those who have trouble focusing on one thing at a time. 

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New Video: Austin-based JOVM Mainstays Blushing Release Woozy and Hallucinatory Visuals for “Dream Merchants”

I’ve written quite a bit about the Austin, TX-based dream pop/shoegaze quartet Blushing over the years, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of two married couples — Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Noe Carmona (guitar, keys) and Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Jake Soto (drums) can trace its origins back to 2015 when after several years of writing material on guitar, Michelle Soto recruited her classically trained friend Christina Carmona to join her new project. Shortly after, Soto and Carmona recruited their spouses to complete the band’s lineup.

The then-newly formed quartet spent the following year or so writing and revising material before heading to Bad Wolf Recordings to record their debut EP Tetherwhich was released to positive reviews across the blogosphere, including this site. Building upon a growing profile, the Austin-based shoe gazers returned to the studio to record their sophomore EP Weak, which featured EP title track “Weak,” a track that further cemented their reputation for crafting material that was indebted to LushCocteau Twins and The Sundays while being a gentle refinement of the sound and aesthetic that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere.

Blushing ended last year with the release of the Elliot Frazier-produced and mixed “The Truth”/”Sunshine” 7 inch, which was released both digitally and on colored vinyl through The Nothing Song Records. “The Truth”/”Sunshine” 7 inch found the Austin-based JOVM mainstays expanding upon their sound with “The Truth” being one of the more muscular songs of their growing catalog while retaining the haziness that has won the attention of the blogosphere.

2019 may arguably be one of the biggest years of the band’s relatively short history: they’ve made their second SXSW showcase earlier this year, which they followed with their first West Coast tour — and their highly anticipated full-length debut is slated for release this summer. The full-length album’s first single is the woozy and swirling “Dream Merchants,” a track that continues in a similar muscular and feedback-filled vein as “The Truth” — and while centered around the dual, ethereal harmonizing of Christina Carmona and Michelle Soto, the track evokes the sensation of a vivid yet half-remembered dream. Unsurprisingly, the track is about the power of dreams and their premonitory value on waking life.

The recently released video is an acid-tinged hallucination that’s split between footage of the members of the band performing in front of a psychedelic background, the writing of the song fueled by an incredibly vivid dream and a brush with the occult. “The video concept came about because Christina had a dream about a dear friend who passed away. In the dream he was telling her to go to New Orleans,” the band explains in press notes. “A month later we were planning our trip back from Athens Georgia where we were playing Athens Pop Fest and realized we would be driving back through New Orleans. She decided she should get a tarot reading while there because of the significant coincidence. Unfortunately the tarot reading wasn’t able to happen but it did inspire the lyrics she sings during the bridge and the music video where we see her get a reading.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Blushing Return with Wistful and Hazy Visuals for “The Truth”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a bit about the Austin, TX-based dream pop/shoegaze quartet Blushing. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of two married couples — Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Noe Carmona (guitar, keys) and Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Jake Soto (drums) can trace its origins back to 2015. As the story goes, after spending several years writing material on guitar, Michelle Soto recruited her classically trained friend Christina Carmona to join her new project, and shortly after, Soto and Carmona recruited their spouses to complete the band’s lineup. The quartet spent about a year or so writing and revising material before heading to Bad Wolf Recordings to record their debut EP Tether, which was released to positive reviews across the blogosphere, including this site. 

Building upon a growing profile, the Austin-based shoegazers returned to the studio to record their sophomore EP Weak, which was released through Austin Town Hall Records last year. And from EP title track “Weak,” the band further cemented their reputation for crafting material that sonically was indebted to the likes of Lush, Cocteau Twins and The Sundays while being a gentle refinement of the sound and aesthetic that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere. The members of Blushing ending last year with the release of the Elliot Frazier-produced and mixed “The Truth”/”Sunshine” 7 inch, which was released both digitally and on colored vinyl through The Nothing Song Records. Interestingly, the 7 inch found Blushing expanding upon their sound with “The Truth” arguably being one of the most muscular songs in their growing catalog while retaining the haziness that have drawn the attention of fans and critics. Centered around layers of shimmering  guitar lines, thundering drumming, Michelle Soto’s and Christina Carmona’s gorgeously ethereal vocals and a soaring hook within an expansive song structure. Sonically the song’s haziness is paired with hazy lyrics that seem to depict a growing love affair between two equally insecure and neurotic people, who can’t seem to get out of their own way — and are afraid of getting hurt. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is to be in — and in turn, feel — the present moment; it’s all we got. 

Produced and directed by Kendall Chapman, the recently released video for “The Truth” finds Michelle Soto and Christina Carmona alternating between brooding and goofing off in a local arcade, where they win enough tickets for silly string, some glow in the dark plastic swords, bubbles and goof off with their spouses; but throughout there’s a wistful feel to the proceedings, as though there’s the recognition that all things must end. 

2019 looks to be a huge year for the Austin-based shoegazers: they’ll be making their second official SXSW showcase appearance, which they’ll follow up with their first West Coast tour  — and their highly-anticipated full-length debut is slated for release in March. Hopefully, they’ll be making a New York City area stop at some point! 

Last year, I wrote a bit about he Austin, TX-based dream pop/shoegaze quartet Blushing, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of two married couples — Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Noe Carmona (guitar, keys) and Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Jake Soto (drums) can trace its origins back to 2015, when Michelle Soto recruited her classically trained friend Christina Carmona to join her new project, after spending several years writing material on guitar. Soto and Carmona then recruited their spouses to complete the band’s lineup. And after about a year of writing and revising material, they went into Bad Wolf Recordings to record their debut EP Tether, an effort that at points recalled A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve and Lightfoils Hierarchy.

Building upon a growing profile and the positive reception of their debut EP, the Austin-based shoegazers returned to the studio to record their sophomore EP Weak, which was released through Austin Town Hall Records earlier this year, and from EP single and title track “Weak,” the band further cemented their reputation for crafting material that sonically was indebted to the likes of Lush, Cocteau Twins and The Sundays —  and while arguably being one of the more direct and anthemic songs of their growing catalog, the song revealed a gentle refinement of the overall sound and aesthetic that first caught the attention of the blogosphere. Adding to a busy year, the band recently released the Elliot Frazier-produced and mixed “The Truth”/”Sunshine” 7 inch both digitally and on colored vinyl through The Nothing Song Records, and the 7 inch single represents a band that has yet again expanded upon their sound: “The Truth” is arguably the most muscular song they’ve released as it featured crunchy and fuzzy guitar lines, thundering drumming paired with soaring vocals. And throughout, there’s a decided focus on crafting an anthemic and rousing hook that sounds as though it inspired by 120 Minutes-era MTV before ending with a feedback-driven coda. “Sunshine,” the second track of the 7 inch is  arguably the most towering and expansive sound that the Austin-based shoegazers have released to date, as Christina Carmona’s and Michelle Soto’s vocals soar over layers of lushly shimmering and pedal effected guitars, a simple yet propulsive backbeat and a soaring hook while recalling A Storm in Heaven and Lightfoils but with a bold self-assurance. Both singles may be among the most ambitious and focused songwriting and playing the band has recorded to date, and I’m looking forward to the forthcoming full-length, slated for early next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: A David Lee Roth Meets Fraggle Rock Party from Hell with Nicole Atkins

JOVM mainstay Nicole Atkins is a Neptune, New Jersey-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter, best known for a sound that draws influence from 50s crooner pop, 60s psych rock and psych pop, soul music and Brill Building pop; in fact, some critics have compared her sound favorably to the likes of Roy Orbison and others. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Atkins has publicly cited the favorites of her parents’ record collection as being major influences on her, including The Ronettes, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, The Sundays‘ Harriet Wheeler and Cass Elliot.

Now, as you may recall, Atkins’ fourth full-length album Goodnight Rhonda Lee was recorded at Fort Worth, TX‘s Niles City Sound, with a production team featuring Austin Jenkins, Josh Block and Chris Vivion and was mixed by the Alabama Shakes‘ Ben Tanner, and the album, which was written while Atkins was in alcohol rehab and afterward, and began to see her life with a different sort of clarity and honesty; in fact, Rhonda Lee was the name, she gave to her hard partying, hard living former life and self. Interestingly, the album, which was released last year was the first batch of original material from the New Jersey-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, and it marked a decided sonic departure from her three previously released albums. Goodnight Rhonda Lee‘s first single “A Little Crazy,” a duet with Chris Issak was a delicate and soulful ballad that clearly nods to some of Atkins’ earliest influences — in particular, Roy Orbison with a hint of Patsy Cline. “Darkness Falls So Quiet,” the album’s second single was a stomping and soulful track that nodded at  Dusty Springfield.  “Sleepwalking,” Rhonda Lee’s fourth single featured a shuffling early  Motown Records-like arrangement that immediately brought to mind  Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, and even Charles Bradley. 

“Brokedown Luck,” Rhonda Lee’s latest single is a shuffling and stomping 12 bar blues-based track that finds Atkins and her backing band nodding at Muscle Shoals, Motown and Daptone, as well as a smidge of Sandra Rhodes sadly under-appreciated country meets soul album Where’s Your Love Been; however, the song captures a narrator, who has reached the end of her rope and recognized that she’s spent way too much time, drinking, fucking up, drinking some more, fucking up some more — and at the end, the same empty, ridiculous rut that she began with; but there’s some clarity and the hope that this time, the song’s narrator may be able to get it right.

Directed by puppet maker/puppeteer and filmmaker Kevin Kelly, the recently released video for “Brokedown Luck” was shot at Asbury Park’s The Asbury Hotel and is essentially a David Lee Roth-like party from hell featuring Elvis impersonators, Hunter S. Thompson, Floyd from The Shinning and hallucinatory scenes with animation and puppets. As Atkins explains of the video treatment, “When I was a kid there was so much cool stuff on tv to get into. I was obsessed with puppets, claymation and animation like Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock and Gary Panter’s puppets and art in Pee Wee’s Playhouse and even the little David Lee Roth singing cheeseburger dude in the movie Better Off Dead. Those things stuck with me for my whole life. It was always a dream of mine to be able to combine some of those elements along with my music in a video.”

 

With the release of their first two EP’s 2016’s Sorry I Messed Up and Please Call Me Back, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based indie rock quartet Holy Now, comprised of Julia Olander, Ylva Holmdahl, Samuel von Bahr Jemth and Hampus Eiderström Swahn quickly developed a reputation as one of their homeland’s up-and-coming indie rock/guitar pop acts — and with tours across Sweden and in London, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based quartet received praise from the likes of DIY, The 405Festivalrykten and Nöjesguiden, and others.

Building upon their growing national and international profile, “Feel It All,” will further cement Holy Now’s reputation for crafting jangling guitar pop with soaring hooks paired with plaintive and tender vocals and while clearly drawing from 80s and 90s guitar pop, like The Sundays and others, the Swedish quartet puts a subtly modern spin on it, along the lines of the likes of La Sera and others — complete with a deep yearning to feel and know everything.

 

 

New Video: New Video for Nicole Atkins’ Soulful “Darkness Gets So Quiet” Offers Playful and Intimate Look at the Musician’s Life

JOVM mainstay Nicole Atkins is a Neptune, New Jersey-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who over the course of her recording career has developed a reputation for sound and songwriting approach that draws from 40s and 50s crooner pop, 60s psych rock and psych pop, soul music and Brill Building pop — with a number of critics comparing her and her sound to Roy Orbison and others. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site, you’d recall that Atkins has publicity cited many of the favorites of her parents’ record collection as being major influences on her, The Ronettes, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, Cass Elliot, and The Sundays‘ Harriet Wheeler among others. 

Atkins started playing piano when she turned nine, and she taught herself how to play guitar when she turned 13, and as the story goes, by the time she was attending St. Rose High School in nearby Belmar, NJ, she was playing in a number of pick-up bands and playing gigs in and around the local coffeehouse circuit. After graduating high school. Atkins attended the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where she studied illustration and ingrained herself within the city’s independent music scene. And while in Charlotte, she began writing original songs and befriending a number of local musicians; in fact, she can claim a brief stint in Nitehawk, a local supergroup that at one point had close to 30 members. Atkins also was briefly a member of Los Parasols, with whom she released The Summer of Love EP in 2002. But by the end of that year, she had relocated to Brooklyn, where she began to be influenced by the Rainbow Quartz Records roster, and began writing songs more along the lines of Wilco and Roy Orbison.

In 2005, Atkins ran into keyboardist Dan Chen, who she had known from playing gigs together at The Sidewalk Cafe, and Chen approached her about starting a band together, a band, which eventually became Nicole Atkins and The Sea. 
During a residency at Piano’s, the band won the attention of music industry attorney Gillian Bar and quickly found themselves in a bidding war between several record labels before signing with Columbia Records in early 2006. A the end of that year, Atkins and her backing band went to Sweden — Varispeed Studios in Kalegrup, Sweden and Gula Studion in Malmo — to record their Tore Johansson-produced debut effort Neptune City, which was released in October 2007 as a critical and commercial success, debuting at number 20 on Billboard‘s Top Heatseekers Chart and reached number 6 on the Heatseekers Middle Atlantic Chart.

2011 saw the release of her critically applauded, Phil Palazzolo-produced sophomore effort Mondo Amore. Recorded at Brooklyn’s Seaside Lounge Studio, Atkins’ new backing band The Black Sea featured Irina Yalkowsky (guitar), Mike Graham (drums) and Jermey Kay (bass). Atkins and her backing band played that year’s SXSW and were named by Spin Magazine as “the best live band of the festival,” and Mondo Amore received attention from the The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

During the winter of 2012 Atkins returned to Malmo, Sweden to record her third full-length effort Slow Phaser with Tore Johansson. Released in February 2014 to critical applause, the album landed at number 143 on the Billboard 200 based on the strength of singles “Girl You Look Amazing” and “Who Killed the Moonlight?” Adding to a big 2014 Atkins appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, where she performed a new rendition of “War Torn” off her Live from the Masonic Temple, Detroit album, an album which was recorded while she toured as the opener for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Recoded at Fort Worth, TX‘s Niles City Sound, with a production team featuring Austin Jenkins, Josh Block and Chris Vivion and mixed by the Alabama Shakes‘ Ben Tanner, Atkins’ fourth album Goodnight Rhonda Lee marks two different things — the first being her first album in three years, the second being a marked sonic departure from her previous work. The album’s first single, co-written by Chris Issak, “A Little Crazy” was a delicate and soulful ballad that clearly nods to many of Atkins’ early influences — in particular, Roy Orbison with a hint of Patsy Cline. However, the album’s second single “Darkness Falls So Quiet” is a stomping and soulful track that nods at Dusty Springfield — and much like Springfield’s legendary work, Atkins’ vocals, which simultaneously express swaggering self-assuredness and aching loneliness are paired with a warm and soulful arrangement that features a gorgeous string section, twinkling keys and a Daptone Records-like horn section. And if weren’t for the subtly modern production, you may have mistaken the song for being released in 1963 or so. 

The recently released video for “Darkness Falls So Quiet” is comprised of intimate, black and white in-studio footage filmed at Niles City Sound, Fort Worth, TX that captures the both the magic and banality of the creative process in the studio, but along with that there’s live footage of Atkins and her backing band shot by WFUV, as well as iPhone footage of Atkins and her bandmates goofing off on the road. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for a while, you’ve been made familiar with JOVM mainstay Nicole Atkins, a Neptune, NJ-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter, best known for a sound that draws influence from 50s crooner pop, 60s psych rock and psych pop, soul music and Brill Building pop — with some critics comparing her sound to the likes of Roy Orbison and others; in fact, Atkins has publicly cited the favorites of her parents’ record collection as being major influences on her, including The Ronettes, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, The SundaysHarriet Wheeler and Cass Elliot.

And as you may recall, Atkins’ fourth full-length album, Goodnight Rhonda Lee marks several major occasions in the renowned singer/songwriter’s career and personal life — the album was written during and after Atkins was in rehab, and has her looking back at her life with a clarity that she hadn’t had before; it’s also the first recorded output she’s released in over three years; and it also marks a major shift from her previous work. While Goodnight Rhonda Lee‘s first single “A Little Crazy,” a collaboration with Chris Issak was a delicate and soulful ballad that clearly nods to some of Atkins’ earliest influences — in particular, Roy Orbison with a hint of Patsy Cline. However, “Darkness Falls So Quiet,” the album’s second single was a stomping and soulful track that nodded at  Dusty Springfield —with a warm and soulful arrangement that features a gorgeous string section, twinkling keys and a Daptone Records-like horn section. “Sleepwalking,” the album’s third single, continued along the soulful vein of its predecessor but with a shuffling arrangement reminiscent of early Motown Records — to my ear, I thought of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles,Marvin Gaye, and even Charles Bradley. 

Interestingly, the Neptune, NJ-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter recently contributed a slow-burning, Dusty Springfield-like rendition of “O Holy Night,” which features twinkling keys, a soaring string arrangement and a propulsive backbeat that will be part of Amazon Music’s “Christmas Soul” playlist. And what makes this rendition stand out for me is the fact that it’s arguable one of the more earthy versions I’ve heard. As Atkins explains of her choice for the playlist, “‘O Holy Night’ has always been my favorite Christmas song. The first time I heard it, I burst into tears because it was so powerful. I think it was the first time I cried from music taking me over. I always wanted to record this song in a style that made it more human in a way that it could bring the message to the angels from the earth rather than the song already residing up in heaven.”

New Video: Austin, TX Shoegazers Blushing Returns with Psychedelic Visuals for Shimmering New Single “Weak”

Comprised of two husband and wife couples, Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Noe Carmona (guitar, keys)  and Michelle Soto (guitar, vocals) and Jake Soto (drums), the Austin, TX-based dream pop/shoegaze quartet Blushing can trace its origins to the summer of 2015 when its founding member Michelle Soto recruited her classically trained friend Christina Carmona to join her new project, after several years of writing material on guitar.  Soto and Carmona then recruited their spouses to complete the band’s lineup and after about a year of writing and revising their material, the newly formed quartet went into Bad Wolf Recordings to record their debut EP Tether, which was mixed and mastered by Philip Odom and released earlier this year. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of this year, you may recall that I wrote about the EP’s title track “Tether,” an immersive single that found the band pairing Christina Carmona’s and Michelle Soto’s ethereal harmonizing with shimmering guitar chords and a soaring hook that personally reminded me quite a bit of A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve and Lightfoils’ Hierarchy.  

Energized by the positive reception of their debut EP and a growing fan base, the Austin, TX-based shoegazers armed with a batch of new songs went into the studio to record what would eventually comprise their forthcoming sophomore EP, Weak, which is slated for a January 26, 2018 release through Austin Town Hall Records. And while EP title track and first single “Weak” will further cement the band’s growing reputation for crafting material deeply indebted to Lush, Cocteau Twins, The Sundays and others, complete with some gorgeously lush guitar work, the slow-burning single finds the band at their most direct and anthemic, revealing a gentle refinement of the overall sound that first caught attention. 

Directed, filmed and edited by Blushing’s Jake Soto with additional filming by Eddie Chavez, the recently released video for “Weak” was shot entirely on an iPhone in an Austin, TX-based studio, the video features the members of the band performing the song amidst swirling colors, shadows and lights — and occasionally in trippy slow motion, emphasizing the song’s psychedelic nature. 

JOVM mainstay Nicole Atkins is a Neptune, New Jersey-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter, best known for a sound that draws influence from 50s crooner pop, 60s psych rock and psych pop, soul music and Brill Building pop; in fact, some critics have compared her sound favorably to the likes of Roy Orbison and others; in fact, Atkins has publicly cited the favorites of her parents’ record collection as being major influences on her, including The Ronettes, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, The SundaysHarriet Wheeler and Cass Elliot.

And as you may recall, Atkins started playing piano when she turned nine, and taught herself to play guitar at 13. By the time she was attending Belmar, NJ’s St. Rose High School, she was playing in pick-up bands and playing gigs at local coffeehouses. Upon graduating from high school, Atkins attended the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where she studied illustration and ingrained herself within the city’s independent music scene. While in Charlotte, she began writing original songs and befriending a number of local musicians; at one point, she was a member of a local supergroup Nitehawk that, at one point had close to 30 members. She also joined Los Parasols and released an EP with them, The Summer of Love in 2002; however, later that year, she moved to Brooklyn, where she began to be influenced by the Rainbow Quartz Records roster, and began writing songs more along the lines of Wilco and Roy Orbison.

By early 2005, Atkins ran into keyboardist Dan Chen, who she had known from her days playing at The Sidewalk Cafe. And as the story goes, Chen approached her about forming a new band, a band which eventually became Nicole Atkins and The Sea. During a residency at Piano’s, the band won the attention of music industry attorney Gillian Bar and Atkins along with her backing band quickly found themselves in a bidding war between several record labels before signing with Columbia Records in early 2006. At the end of that year, Atkins and her backing band went to Sweden — Varispeed Studios in Kalegrup, Sweden and Gula Studion in Malmo — to record their Tore Johansson-produced debut effort Neptune City, which was released in October 2007 to accommodate re-mastering of the album. The album was a critical and commercial success, debuting at number 20 on Billboard‘s Top Heatseekers Chart and reached number 6 on the Heatseekers Middle Atlantic Chart.

2011 saw the release of her critically applauded, Phil Palazzolo-produced sophomore effort Mondo Amore. Recorded at Brooklyn’s Seaside Lounge Studio, Atkins’ new backing band The Black Sea featured Irina Yalkowsky (guitar), Mike Graham (drums) and Jermey Kay (bass). Atkins and her backing band played that year’s SXSW and were named by Spin Magazine as “the best live band of the festival,” and Mondo Amore received attention from the The New York Times and Rolling Stone.

During the winter of 2012 Atkins returned to Malmo, Sweden to record her third full-length effort Slow Phaser with Tore Johansson. Released in February 2014 to critical applause, the album landed at number 143 on the Billboard 200 based on the strength of singles “Girl You Look Amazing” and “Who Killed the Moonlight?” Adding to a big 2014 Atkins appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, where she performed a new rendition of “War Torn” off her Live from the Masonic Temple, Detroit album, an album which was recorded while she toured as the opener for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Recoded at Fort Worth, TX‘s Niles City Sound, with a production team featuring Austin Jenkins, Josh Block and Chris Vivion and mixed by the Alabama Shakes‘ Ben Tanner, Atkins’ fourth album Goodnight Rhonda Lee marks two different but important occasions in the renowned singer/songwriter’s career — it’s her first album in three years, and more important, it marks a sonic departure from her previously released work. As I mentioned earlier, Goodnight Rhonda Lee‘s first single “A Little Crazy,” a collaboration with Chris Issak was a delicate and soulful ballad that clearly nods to some of Atkins’ earliest influences — in particular, Roy Orbison with a hint of Patsy Cline. However, “Darkness Falls So Quiet,” the album’s second single was a stomping and soulful track that nodded at  Dusty Springfield — and much like Springfield’s legendary work, Atkins’  vocals, which manage to simultaneously express swaggering self-assuredness and aching loneliness are paired with a warm and soulful arrangement that features a gorgeous string section, twinkling keys and a Daptone Records-like horn section. Interestingly, the album’s third and latest single “Sleepwalking” continues the soulful vein of its predecessor; however, with a shuffling arrangement featuring guitar, bass, twinkling keys and bold blasts of horn the song manages to nod at early Motown Records — to my ear, I thought of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, and even Charles Bradley. 

Atkins will be touring throughout the summer and fall to support the new album, slated for release in a few weeks. The tour will include a September 9, 2017 stop at Mercury Lounge. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.
Tour Dates:

7/20 – Lexington, KY – The Burl
7/21 – Florence, AL – WC Handy Festival
7/23 – Nashville, TN – 3rd and Lindsley
7/25 – Annapolis, MD – Rams Head on Stage w/Robert Ellis
7/26 – Fairfield, CT – Stage One
7/29 – Freehold, NJ – Monmouth County Fair
7/30 – Newport, RI – Newport Folk Festival w/Steelism and Ruby Amanfu
8/7 – Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
8/8 – Chicago, IL – Space
8/10 – Davenport, IA – The Raccoon Motel
8/11 – Iowa City, IA – The Mill
8/12 – Minneapolis, MN – Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
8/18 – Asheville, NC – Altamont Theatre
8/19 – Athens, GA – Wildwood Revival 2017
8/26 – Arlington, VA – Lockn’ Festival
9/8 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
9/9 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
9/10 – Asbury Park, NJ – Shadow of the City Festival @ Stony Pony Summer Stage – Shadow of the City Festival