Tag: USA Today

New VIdeo: Follow St. Vincent on a Gritty 70s Inspired Heist

Initially starting her professional career as a member of The Polyphonic Spree and as a touring member of Sufjan Stevens’ touring band, the Tulsa-born, New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark stepped out into the limelight as a solo artist and frontperson with her acclaimed project St. Vincent. Since the release of 2007’s full-length debut Marry Me, Clark’s work has continued to grow in stature and complexity with her self-titled fourth album winning a 2014 Grammy for Best Alternative Album, making her only the second female artist to ever win in that category.

Along with her work as a solo artist, Clark has collaborated with the legendary David Byrne on 2012’s Love This Giant, performed with the living members of Nirvana at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and da 2019 Grammy Awards duet with Dua Lipa.

Clark collaborated with co-producer Jack Antonoff on 2017’s critically applauded, smash hit album MASSEDUCATION, an album that landed on both the US and UK Top 10 Charts while landing at #1 of the Best of 2017 list of The New York Times and The Guardian — and placing high on the Best of 2017 lists of The AV Club, Billboard, Entertainment Weekly, Mashable, New York Daily News, NME, Paste, Pitchfork, Q, Stereogum, USA Today and a length list of others. 2018’s MassEducation found Clark collaborating with pianist Thomas Bartlett: Recorded over two nights in August 2017, the effort found Clark stripping back MASSEDUCATION’s material to its bare bones, revealing the vulnerable and earnest songwriting at their core.

MASSEDUCATION’s title track won a Grammy for Best Rock Song with the album winning another Grammy for Best Recording Package in 2019. As she was celebrating an enviable run of critical and commercial success, Clark’s father was released from prison. Clark began writing a new batch of materials which would become her soon-to-be released seventh album, Daddy’s Home. Daddy’s Home thematically closes the loop the loop on a journey that began with her father’s incarceration back in 2019 — and it ultimately led her back to the vinyl records her dad had introduced her when she was child — the gritty and sleazy rock records written and recorded in New York between 1971-1975.

Interestingly, Daddy’s Home’s latest single, “Down” is centered around a groove that’s simultaneously sultry and anxious with the track evoking images of the legendarily sleazy New York: in this case, a coke and booze fueled bender that starts at the local bar, features a stop at CBGB’s or Max’s Kansas City to see Blondie or Ramones before heading off to Studio 54. Warhol is somewhere in this picture, right? Now, while some critics have compared the album’s overall aesthetic and sound to Young Americans-era Bowie and Prince, “Down” to my ears reminds me more of Station to Station and Lodger-era Bowie. It’s far more anxious and murkier with a bit of menace seeping through.

Co-directed by Clark and Bill Benz, the recently released video features Clark in Candy Darling-like regalia through an anxious chase that’s one part French Connection and one part drug-fueled, paranoid fever dream. It fits the song’s careening and glitchy groove perfectly.

 

With a handful of singles and their full-length debut Vaporwave, the Washington, DC-based indie electro rock and synth pop sextet Color Palette, comprised of Jay Nemeyer (vocals, guitar), Josh Hunter (guitar, keys, bass), Matt Hartenau (drums), Rogerio Naressi (keys) and Maryjo Mattea (vocals) received attention both locally and internationally from the likes of NME MagazineUSA Today, NPR and Impose Magazine— and adding to a growing profile, the band has shared bills with  Charli XCX, The Naked and Famous, Mother Mother, Day Wave, Yumi Zouma, Mr. Little Jeans, The Kickback, Spirit Animal, VanLadyLove and others.

Up until late last month, some time had passed since I had come across the DC-based sextet but as you may recall, the band had been busy working on their sophomore album, which is currently slated for release sometime next year — and the album’s first single “Sunburn,” was a breezy and anthemic track centered around shimmering and jangling guitar lines, ethereal electronics and a soaring hook paired with a wistful vocal that evokes the passing of summer, and the impending end of another year. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Chelsea” is a synth-based track that some have compared favorably to Depeche Mode, although to my my ears, the song recalls St. Lucia as the members of Color Palette layer of arpeggiated synths are paired with angular and hanging guitar chords, an a propulsive rhythm section — and while much like its predecessor, the song reveals a band that can craft a razor sharp and infectious hook, “Chelsea” may arguably be the most ambitious, arena rock friendly track they’ve written and released to date.

 

With a handful of singles and their full-length debut Vaporwave, the Washington, DC-based indie electro rock and synth pop sextet Color Palette, comprised of Jay Nemeyer (vocals, guitar), Josh Hunter (guitar, keys, bass), Matt Hartenau (drums), Rogerio Naressi (keys) and Maryjo Mattea (vocals) have received attention both locally and internationally from the likes of NME MagazineUSA Today, NPR and Impose Magazine— and adding to a growing profile, the band has shared bills with  Charli XCX, The Naked and Famous, Mother Mother, Day Wave, Yumi Zouma, Mr. Little Jeans, The Kickback, Spirit Animal, VanLadyLove and others.

Now, it’s been some time since I’ve last come across them, but as it turns out the band has been busy working on their sophomore album, which is slated for release sometime next year; but in the meantime, the DC-based band’s latest single “Sunburn” is a breezy and anthemic track centered around shimmering and jangling guitar lines, ethereal electronics and a soaring hook paired with a wistful vocal that evokes the passing of summer, and the impending end of another year.

 

Currently comprised of founding member Alex Tebeleff (vocals, synth, guitar) and newest members Matt Dowling (vocals, bass), Rick Irby (guitar) and Danny Bentley (drums), the Washington, DC-based psych rock act Paperhaus have released 5 EPs. including 2013’S LoHiLo EP, which garnered attention from NPR and the Washington Post and was supported with a two month two that included a NYC area stop. Building upon the buzz they had received, the band’s 2015 full-length debut premiered on NPR First Listen. Along with their full-length debut, the band played at that year’s SXSW, played a headlining, album release show at DC’s famed 9:30 Club and received coverage from Brooklyn VeganUSA Today, NPR’s All Songs Considered and several others.

Now, it’s been quite a while since I’ve written about the Washington, DC-based psych rock act, but the band’s latest effort, Are These The Questions That We Need To Ask? officially drops later today, and the album which was recorded and co-produced by Peter Larkin at his Alexandria, VA-based studio The Lighthouse reportedly marks a major turning point for the band, as the album’s title and material urges the listener to ask questions about their surrounding world — while focusing on our increasing reliance on technology, a craving for nature and the natural world, the return and increasing rise of authoritarian ideas and the division it creates for people, and what all of this means for human relationships. In fact, the album’s latest single “Told You What To Say” sonically features shimmering and wobbling synths paired with a strutting bass line and a soaring hook in an expansive song structure that possesses elements of psych rock, prog rock and post punk — all while reportedly pointing out that history has a way of echoing and paralleling itself. But unless we make vital connections between the past and present, we’re not only doomed to repeat the past, we’re doomed to repeat it — without ever knowing why or how to stop it.

 

 

 

 

 

Live Footage: Royal Blood Performs “Lights Out” on “The Late Late Show with James Corden”

Comprised of Worthing, UK-born, West Sussex, UK-based Mike Kerr (vocals, bass) and Rustington, UK-born, West Sussex, UK-based Ben Thatcher, the British rock duo Royal Blood can trace their origins to when Kerr and Thatcher met when the duo were briefly members of the local rock quartet Flavour Country, in which Kerr played keys and keytar; however, the band can trace their official origins to sabbatical that Kerr had spent in Australia, where had started Royal Blood with Matt Swan (drums). And as the story goes, when Kerr returned to England, Thatcher had picked him up from the airport and they quickly decided to start a band together. Initially, the duo had a difficult time landing gigs and according to Kerr, they played a lot of open-mic nights with acoustic singer/songwriters. But after further developing their sound at Brighton Electric Studios, the band was signed to Warner/Chappell Music, and as a result of sharing the same management company as blogosphere darling act Arctic Monkeys, the duo began to receive a steady amount of buzz before the release of their first official single. 

Kerr and Thatcher’s sophomore album How Did We Get So Dark? was released earlier this summer and the album debuted at Number 1 on the UK charts. Since its release, the album has garnered over 30 million streams across Spotify and Apple Music and has sold over 250,000 copies, while receiving praise from the likes of USA Today, Rolling Stone, NME, Entertainment Weekly, and Forbes. And adding to a growing international profile, the band played the main stage at last week’s Outside Lands Festival, and will be opening for Queens of the Stone Age for a series of dates in the fall. (Check out those dates, as well as the band’s headlining Stateside dates below.) 

But before I forget, album single “Lights Out,” recently reached Number 1 on the Rock Radio charts, as the Number 1 Gainer, marking the second time the band has reached Number 1, and as soon as you hear the song you’ll see why it’s been dominating the charts, as it further cements the band’s growing reputation for crafting blistering and swaggering power chord-based arena rock. 

Mikey Wax is a New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, whose profile has exploded nationally and internationally as a number of his singles and albums have achieved commercial success and placement in a number of major TV series. After “In Case I Go Again,” off his debut effort Change Again won South Florida-based WRMF 97.9 FM‘s Unsigned Artist contest, the song was featured on CBS‘s Ghost Whisperer, NBC‘s 2012 Summer Olympics coverage and ABC Family‘s Pretty Little Liars  — and the music video was featured as part of YouTube‘s Music Tuesday spotlight, which garnered over 500,000 views. Wax’s 2011 self-released sophomore effort Constant Motion landed at number 6 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Chart, number 47 on Billboard Heatseekers Chart, with album single “Counting On You” receiving major radio airplay on major Adult Top 40 stations across the country.

As as a result of his rapid success, Wax was selected by New Music SeminarNew  as one of their “Artists on the Verge” and was featured by iHeartRadio as an “Artist To Watch” in 2012 — and “Counting On You” was featured during the elimination montage on every episode of Fox’So You Think You Can Dance that season. Additionally, the song was featured in the trailer for the major motion picture Playing for Keeps which lead to coverage from USA Today and Young Hollywood. “For Better Or Worse” was featured on Lifetime‘s Dance Moms while “So Crazy” appeared in a promo teaser for Brazilian TV network GNT, which led to the song charting on the Top 100 iTunes Pop Chart Brazil and a sub-publishing deal with Warner/Chappell South America.

 

The New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s self-titled, third full length effort was released in 2014 and featured “You Lift Me Up,” which debuted on iTunes US Top 200 Pop Charts and has since been placed on MTV‘s The Real World and The Challenge: The Battle of the Exes II, the season 10 promo for E! Entertainment‘s Keeping Up With The Kardashians and all Fox Sports NBA games throughout the second half of the 2015 season. Building on the success he’s received to date, Wax’s “Love Always Wins (#LoveWins)” was also featured on the promo for E! Entertainment’s I Am Cait and on the SoundHound app homepage.

I have to add that the New York-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has toured with the likes of Parachute, Andy Grammer, Jon McLaughlin, Matt Wertz, Rachel Platten, Howie Day, Tyler Ward, Ryan Cabrera, Tyler Hilton, Tony Lucca and others.

“Bottle of Jack,” Wax’s most recent single pairs Wax’s soulful vocals with a neo-soul-like arrangement of shimmering keyboard chords, loose and funky guitar chords, propulsive drumming, soaring synths and a sinuous bass line to craft an radio-friendly pop confection that has its narrator describing the sensation of being in love to drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels. And at points, it certainly can feel that way! In any case, Achtabahn released a house music remix of “Bottle of Jack” that pairs Wax’s effortlessly soulful vocals with a warm, Random Access Memories-era Daft Punk production consisting of a sinuous bass line, warm blasts of Nile Rodgers-like guitar shimmering neo-soul like keys, handclap-led percussion, swirling electronics, bleeps and bloops and wobbling, tweeter and woofer wobbling drops that makes the song dance floor friendly while retaining the radio-friendly pop confection spirit of the original.