Thursday, 8 October 2015

Double Delights: $omeone feat Kite - Lydia Schubert

$omeone feat Kite - Hollow.

Those background words - When the music producer, $omeone, recently signed on Gotta Records, meets the sensitivity of the genius vocalist named Kite.

Kite is an award-winning Liverpool-based, Cumbrian-born songstress. Her debut EP ‘The Bed of The Brook’ was released in 2011 and led her on to play festivals such as Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Kendal Calling, Solfest and Ireby as well as gaining her a spot to play across the pond at Dewey Beach Music Conference in Delaware. Her first single ‘The Water’ was self-released in 2013 and has had extensive radio play including BBC Cumbria, BBC Merseyside and BBC Radio 2 as well as having been playlisted by BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson. Since her trip to the US in 2012 Kite has been working closely with Brooklyn-based collective Mason Jar Music (Feist, Wood Brothers, Josh Garrels, Alicia Keys).

Lot's of recognition and words of praise, already written for Kite here in the UK, and on the strength of this song, it's not hype, it's quality.


Lydia Schubert - This Golden Hour.

The story so far - “I like to write songs that can read like stories.” 

Lydia Schubert was born in Perth during the eighties or nineties; depending on what mood she’s in and credits her musical prowess with a desire to tell stories. She is a mythologist and puts herself in the first person of the song. 

“But that doesn’t always mean the songs are about me” 

Lydia emerged from the dusty plains of Australia’s West, playing intimate venues in Fremantle and the surrounding locality to small and attentive audiences, where she cut her teeth as a contemporary poet/singer. She has developed an acute understanding of the ‘song’ form and its potential to articulate that which is buried deep in the soul, hidden beneath the small talk of the world. 

Lydia made her debut early on in the year with the single Jesse, a ballad about the gunslinger Jesse James, which earned radio play across the country. She now follows up with ‘This Golden Hour’, a song inspired by a dream and using the namesake of one of her favourite writers, Tennessee Williams.

This is a charming 'rootsy' song which gently builds as Lydia sings and a story unfolds. Simple as that? Quality often is.


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Another Genre Mix: Before The Flood - herMajesty - Still Parade

Before the Flood - I Can't Wait For You.

Background words - Before the Flood's 2nd LP (Hole in the Sky - 2015) is heavy on vocal harmonies, layered strings and deep percussion and bass. Electronic elements and synths add to the rich, and at other times ethereal soundscapes BTF creates through a long-awaited and eclectic 14 song journey. BTF's style and performances are constantly evolving but they continue to draw comparisons to Wilco, The Shins, The Weakerthans & Skydiggers.

Before the Flood formed in 2005, and the line-up has fluidly performed with between 4 and 7 members.  The backbone of the band has been strong, diverse song writing and rich, textured arrangements. Bars Wire and Wood (2008) had two singles (the title track & The Halls) that charted on college radio across Canada.

Over the last seven years BTF has been honing their craft performing through Southern Ontario - with 14 appearances at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern (Toronto), 15 at The Moonshine Cafe (Oakville), regulars at NXNE and various summer festivals.

This is a solid album with songs that drift somewhere between folk, country rock and a few other places. All show off the bands well developed skills, and the featured track is a fine intro for those unfamiliar with BTF.


herMajesty - My Body Your Mind.

Background - Art rock project herMajesty plans to self-release their new EP “My Body Your Mind” on November 4th and gig the north east in support throughout fall and winter. “My Body Your Mind” reflects an eclectic indie-glam sound that began with their July 2014 release “Crystals” featuring Fountains of Wayne guitarist Jody Porter’s psychedelic stamp. April’s Bowie-esque “Fashion Trance” followed  February’s “Days Turn to Nights.”
“My Body Your Mind” is the story of an immigrant son at a point in time where the experience of migration and dislocation and the desire to love and survive resonates in, and in spite of, the images from a 24-hour news cycle replete with negation, death, and pandering politicos. "My Body Your Mind” implies that the experience of emotional and physical trauma is grafted in memory and skin; that the fallout is, at once, fleeting and permanent, current and timeless, visceral and physical - like the song itself.

“My Body Your Mind” incorporates an ancient Middle Eastern instrument called the oud to amplify the immigrant son’s blues. The use of the oud and bouzouki flow in and out of the dramatic, mysterious wall of sound that integrates psych rock, new wave and world influences. herMajesty has been putting out music consistently since forming in NYC several years ago. They’ve shared the stage with acts like B-52s, Tom Tom Club, Boxer Rebellion, Say Hi To Your Mom, and received airplay on taste maker stations like KEXP-FM in Seattle and WFUV-FM in NYC.

herMajesty consists of JP (vocals, rhythm guitars, programming), David Leatherwood (guitars, backup vocals), Joan Chew (bass), Dov Manski (keyboards) and Konrad Meissner (drums, percussion). Keyboards on “Crystals” were handled by Dayle Raymond Jellyman.

Art Rock has become a crowded genre, it's one that has thrown up a few exciting artists, sadly there have been a few to many, pale imitations of Arcade Fire. herMajesty expand well outside the genre, and the featured track, shows off a talented band, with plenty of ideas of their own, and I feel comparisons with others would be an unfair distraction.


Still Parade - Concrete Vision.

Background - Still Parade is the project and artistic expression of songwriter, producer Niklas Kramer. Kramer launched Still Parade with debut single 'Actors' on 20th May 2013 and for a long while his identity was clouded by secrecy and mystique. This decision was taken with a view to letting the music alone do the talking. And that it did. Following 'Actors', Kramer delivered extremely well received singles as well as the 'Fields' EP that saw Still Parade continue to build it's following online amongst the tastemakers of the blogosphere.

During this period between the end of 2013 and 2014 the identity of Still Parade's founder and driving creative force was gradually revealed as Niklas Kramer, a young producer and artist basing himself out of Germany's creative hub of Berlin. It also saw Still Parade begin to play festivals and headline shows across Europe in cities including London, Paris, Amsterdam as well as their home town of Berlin.

This period also saw Kramer become interested in experimenting with new recording techniques after receiving a tape recorder as a gift from his father. His previous output had all been recorded within fully equipped professional studios with experienced producers, resulting in a slick dream folk sound. However, only now was he realizing that he preferred the sound he was able to generate by himself within his own tiny Berlin apartment recording on that very tape machine.

Now armed with a collection of brand new songs Still Parade will be sure to leave behind the dream folk, yacht rock sound that became synonymous with Kramer's early output. His debut album self recorded and produced with the use of his tape machine, is set for release in 2016, and it's fair to say Kramer has successfully managed to harness influences from his all time heroes Todd Rundgren and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

I like this song. It is unpretentious, has an openly declared nod to his musical heroes, and yet has plenty of the artists own skills and ideas. As I said, I like it!


Gussie Clarke - From The Foundation (Reggae Anthology)

Various Artists - Gussie Clarke - From The Foundation (Reggae Anthology).

Press Release - VP Records' vintage imprint 17 North Parade opens its vaults to present a new reggae anthology from one of the most influential Jamaican producers and businessmen Gussie Clarke. On Oct 9th, 2015, 17 North Parade will release a comprehensive double-disc compilation From The Foundation, spanning Gussie Clarke's catalogue of hit productions from the 1970s until today, accompanied with a DVD that takes an in-depth look of the man behind the controls. All the music is re-mastered and coupled with deluxe packaging and extensive liner notes. In addition, a vinyl companion piece (carrying the same name) will be available the following week (Oct 16) that features exclusive tracks not available on the CD and digital version.

In the early 1970s, Clarke's breakthrough success with deejay-style vocalists like Big Youth and I Roy put him at the forefront of the new rebel sound because he was able to blend this style with more instrumental records. The first portion of the anthology includes a previously unreleased version (featuring Big Youth) of Clarke's 1972 debut U-Roy's "The Higher The Mountain" plus a never-before-heard extended version of Dennis Brown & Lennie Hibbert's "To The Foundation."The set carries into more classics like Augustus Pablo's "No Entry," Hortense Ellis' "Unexpected Places" as well as the influential 1981 Mighty Diamond's hit "Pass the Kouchie." 

The second half of the collection delves into Clarke's productions during the late 1980s when he launched his own Music Works studio. This was around the same time when the digital reggae era began, so the studio was fully equipped and ready to adopt the new style, but was still able to maintain the traditional roots reggae sound with musicians recording live instrumentation. The Music Works label focused on this new digi-roots style, incorporating keyboard and computer programmed riddims. Gussie Clarke continued to gather some of the best songwriters, musicians, background singers, arrangers, engineers and mixers Jamaica had to offer. Standout tracks include Dennis Brown & Gregory Isaacs' massive radio hit "Big All Around," Home T, Cocoa Tea & Shabba Ranks' "Pirates Anthem," Gregory Isaacs' monumental 1988 summer smash "Rumours." The riddim of the latter track triggered more breakthrough hits like J.C. Lodge's iconic "Telephone Love." To an enthusiastic, who changed and accepted the reggae music market, Clark was always able to evolve to the times and remain one of the most consistent hit makers in the business.

He continued to pump out chart-topping radio bangers in the 1990s, including Deborahe Glasgow & Shabba Ranks "Mr. Loverman" as well as Shabba Ranks & Krystal's international hit "Twice My Age," both featured on this set. He has worked with an ensemble of reggae artists over the years including Daddy Rings, Sizzla and Mey Vidal, as seen on the last 3 tracks of the From The Foundation. Gussie Clarke's music legacy lives on as he influences much of the music today. The icon shares his works on this timeless Reggae Anthology and proves that real roots remain strong when they are from the foundation.

Gussie Clarke has produced so many reggae hits, including from Augustus Pablo, Big Youth, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown,The Mighty Diamonds, Bunny Wailer,  J.C. Lodge, Shabba Ranks, Sizzla and many more. This compilation charts the story from the 1970's and the featured track is just a small hint of the various musical styles on the release. Reggae fans may already have some, or possibly, many of these tracks, however for those who have not, and who like the genre, this is a worthy contender, both to see how much Gussie has contributed to reggae, and the superb artists he has worked with down the years.


Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Four 4U: Parlour Tricks - The Little Unsaid - Foreign Architects - Unnveig Aas

Parlour Tricks - Lovesongs.

Promo words - Parlour Tricks released a new Double A side single yesterday (5th October) – the two tracks ‘Lovesongs’ and ‘Requiem’ will be out on cool New York label Bar/ None Records. Catchy and charming ‘Lovesongs’ is an electro synth pop earworm - think dreamy Goldfrapp, complimenting ‘Requiem’ a beat heavy, rhythmic track that is layered with the mystical and airy vocals of Lily Cato.

The band are lead singer and songwriter Lily Cato, bassist and synth player Brian Kesley, drummer Terry Moore and guitarist Angelo Spagnolo, They met at college and first played together on a whim when Cato decided to try her hand at song writing. A few months later Cato asked Morgane Hollowell and Darah "DeeDee" Golub (also friends from college) to join when she realised that nearly every song she'd written was begging for three female voices. Influenced as much by the Andrews Sisters as she is by Vampire Weekend, Cato’s first few years of song writing kept the lyrical spotlight away from herself and instead found inspiration in other people’s stories, newspaper articles, and books. “I write a story for a song the same way you might write a story for a novel” says Cato.

Matching clothing and synchronised dance moves is as integral to a Parlour Tricks show as the music but its all about, making sure that everyone is having a blast both onstage and off is paramount to all six members.  ‘Village Voice’ named them 2014’s Best Pop Band in New York City, so it seems like a mission accomplished. The band recorded their forthcoming new album in Nashville working with producer Emery Dobyns (Patti Smith, Antony & The Johnsons, Noah and the Whale).  Dobyns played a key role in harnessing the band’s ever-evolving sound, allowing them to explore and experiment but creating cohesion within the ten tracks that ultimately ended up on the album due out in early 2016.

Two quite different songs from Parlour Tricks, the featured track is a synth pop wonder, with stand out vocals and harmonies, and a soundtrack that just hooked me in. Requiem is for me even better, both very good songs.


The Little Unsaid - Can We Hear It?

Background - The Little Unsaid was stewed up in the badlands of West Yorkshire by multi-instrumentalist, producer, poet and songwriter John Elliott. After beginning as a solo project, The Little Unsaid has evolved into a growing community of touring musicians and producers blending folk, electronica, orchestral music and a meticulous song writing craft with John’s haunting, androgynous vocals.

Following on the heels of two well-received, crowd-funded albums, his third, Fisher King, is the result of traumatic personal crisis, reflected in the music’s genre-hopping complexity, lyrical honesty and moments of cathartic release. It was recorded over four weeks in a London basement, in the middle of Highgate Cemetery, in the steeple of a crumbling Islington church, and on a tiny island in the middle of the Celtic Sea.

The album was mixed by Graeme Stewart, long-time Radiohead engineer and producer of Jonny Greenwood’s solo work, which has included producing and mixing the music for Hollywood movies such as There Will Be Blood and The Master.

The songs on Fisher King are part-inspired by books that John became obsessed with during his self-imposed isolation in the hills of West Yorkshire in Winter 2014. These include Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Dante’s Inferno, The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave, and The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot (a poem from which the album title was taken). The tone of these literary works correlated with John’s own explorations of the destructive nature of human desire and the loss of faith in the face of catastrophe, which has bled its way into all of the songs on the album.

The lead single 'Can We Hear It ?' was selected by Catherine Cunning Coco Media & Artist Management in collaboration with Mark Gardener of OX-4-Sound and front man of legendary Oxford band Ride, who also mixed the single during breaks from their recent world tour.

You know that moment when you hear an artist or band for the first time, and you stop doing anything, to concentrate and just take in the song. Well 'The Little Unsaid' did that very thing to me this afternoon. The featured track is just so imaginative and having listened to some other tracks this is for me, one very special collection of songs.


Foreign Architects - Fall.

Background - Foreign Architects are about to release their second single for the year, ‘Fall’, on October 16th. Foreign Architects have had a massive 2015 so far, having supported ARIA Award winning Australian band Eskimo Joe before releasing their last single, ‘Clover’. The band continued to capitalise on this success, being selected to take part in the Singapore-WA Music Exchange, which saw the band perform at Beerfest Asia in Singapore, a festival attended by over 30,000 punters. 

Foreign Architects are a Perth based Indie-Pop duo made up of singer-songwriter Matt Burke and his drummer cousin, Andrew Barnett. With a huge sound combining a multitude of guitar and bass amps, layers of harmonies, the unforgettable songs and energy of their live show will leave you wondering how it was produced by only two people on stage.

Produced by Lance Robinson and A&R Department head Matt O’Connor, ‘Fall’ is a powerful alternative rock song with a driving beat, reminiscent of fellow Aussie bands Violent Soho and Grinspoon.

'Fall' doesn't waste time getting started and we are straight into a hook laden, indie rock song, with vocals that ride smooth, over a solid timeless musical piece.


Unnveig Aas - Run.

Background  - Unnveig Aas has quickly become known as the small soft-spoken woman with the big sorrowful voice. 

Within a few years she has touched audiences in clubs, venues and festivals all over Norway, played support for Judy Collins, John Fullbright and Daniel Romano, and additionally performed for a sold-out festival tent in Bremen. Now comes the new material. EP released 9th of October.

As the promo is a little on the minimalist side, all I know at present is what is stated above. The song is absolutely charming, Unnveig has a beautiful voice and the music just carries her along. A country feel which leans a little towards Emmylou Harris on this track (see that as a massive compliment), I cannot wait to hear more.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Sundays Alternative Take: Soothing, Grooving and Dancing

Tom Swoon Vs Ale Q & Sonny Noto - Alive.

Promo words - Released through Ultra Music on September 25th is ‘Alive’, the collaborative single from Tom Swoon, Ale Q & Sonny Noto. Producers/DJs Ale Q and Sonny Noto have gone head to head with Polish artist Swoon for this track, and the results are nothing short of epic.

A stirring piece of progressive house, the tune almost bubbles into action at the start before effortless vocals soak over the top of the bass line, and complementary piano twinkles add a further expressive edge. As the electro-edged beat really starts to take hold, there is another soulful intermission - before the power and intensity reaches a dance floor ready climax.

Actually the promo words are pretty much spot on. Progressive House fans will love this energised and driving song, the vocals if anything help calm the whole thing down, so we can pause for breath.


The Flavr Blue feat. Jarell Perry - Oxygen.

Background - After a summer of major milestones, the Seattle­-based trio the Flavr Blue is about to deliver their most anticipated release yet: The L​ove Notes​ EP, a collection that marries the group's crackling energy with a soulful musical wisdom inherited from influences ranging from Cut Copy and Miike Snow to Feist and Sade.

The band's success is driven by the way its members — lead singer Hollis Wong­-Wear, whose voice graced the Billboard Top 20 hit "White Walls" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and singer/producers Lace Cadence and Parker Joe, each with a litany of Seattle hip ­hop and R&B releases under their belts — weave their voices and eclectic experimentalist within a rich electronic landscape. It’s been that way since the beginning, when they first built tracks in a half­ bedroom turned studio in Parker's Beacon Hill town house. It grew as they translated the sounds to wild live shows, for crowds both charmed and electrified by their combination of heartfelt soul and energetic electronica. Even Questlove tweeted his affection for the band’s live performance after watching their set at the Brooklyn Bowl. In celebration of the release of upcoming EP L​ove Notes, the Flavr Blue is releasing "Oxygen" (ft. Jarell Perry).

As 'bonus' songs go this is top quality. A mixture of electro and house sounds, and a mixture of fine vocals, make this a very good track.


Exploding Clouds - Drive The Car.

Background - Hailing from Miami, Exploding Clouds is Michael Barksdale's synth-pop project. Exploding Clouds started as Barksdale's solo experimentation's back in 2010 as an alternative to his darker alter ego, Culture Prophet. After many years of performing and producing with other bands and aliases, he decided to revisit his previous work and bring it back to life. Exploding clouds is about positivity, gazing into the horizon, and looking beyond what the eye can see. 

The recently released nine track EP features beautiful electronic ambient songs reminiscent of Tycho, Com Truise, Washed Out and Caribou.

This is a pleasing track, the song flows beautifully, with vocals that are immersed in the mix and drift along with the gentle and soothing soundtrack.


Stevie Wonder - Superstition (Lliam Taylor Remix).

Background words - Not many artists could re-imagine the music of a legend like Stevie Wonder and do justice to one of his hits, but 19-year-old west coast producer Lliam Taylor is up to the task. Following more mellow remixes of Defunk's "Saturday Night" and Craig David's "Fill Me In," Lliam's "Superstition" remix sees him taking a harder, more dance floor-friendly edge, with lush breakdowns balanced out by groovy bass lines over a thumping house drop. The instrumental complements Stevie's vocals beautifully, and instantly modernises the classic song.

Formerly known as Kezwik, Lliam Taylor has toured with Datsik and landed at #1 on the Beatport Dubstep chart. Never aiming to be pigeonholed in just one genre, Lliam has been broadening his sound to embrace other electronic styles and has set his sights on the world of house. A true musician through and through, Lliam aims, with every piece of music he writes, "to create a song that tells a story and makes you feel something from start to finish, whether it be intense feelings or just the need to dance".

Fair play to Lliam, this has taken the original song, successfully into another style or genre, and Stevie Wonder's voice comes across so distinctly, that it is even more 'stand out' than the original. As an old Tamla Motown fan, I was ready to rip this apart, instead I have to admit, it's a remarkable version.


Mauro Picotto - The Whistle (Radio Edit).

Promo words - In October, Picotto will be releasing his ninth studio album From Heart To Techno on his own imprint Alchemy Records. The new album finds Mauro churning out what he does best: full throttle tech-house and techno built for sweaty dance floors. Ahead of the full release of his album, Mauro has channelled his inner jazz-man for the albums first single The Whistle, which is available for free download to wet your appetite. The track features jazzy pianos, funky vibes, and, of course, a whistle-along melody as jackin percussion propels the song along to euphoric grooviness.

This just puts a smile on my face. Everything about 'The Whistle' is just so bright and fun filled. Dance floors will be in for a punishing, as soon as this one plays.


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Saturday Double Selection: Sloom - Tohearmeroar

Sloom - Magic Cup.

What we are told - Sloom is a rock n roll band from Sydney’s Inner West, whose members are Chris Diamond and Cristian Di Paolo on guitar and vocals, Dane Macintosh on bass and Jamie Graham on drums. Coming from a variety of musical backgrounds they set out together to create their own original music. After recording their first EP, Kahayalan in 2014 Sloom has refined their sound and are set to release their first single ‘Magic Cup’. 

Produced and recorded by the band, ‘Magic Cup’ captures the spirit of their live performances and draws inspiration from an older era. ‘Magic Cup’ might resonate with fans of John Dwyer, Ty Segall and any living thing that likes their music energetic and fun! Sloom are playing a show at Frankie’s Pizza on Hunter St on October 11, come down and grab yourself a slice of Sloom.

The live feel to 'Magic Cup' gives the song natural, raw energy. The retro feel for me, is in the vocals, whilst the no nonsense rock soundtrack retains a fresh sparky sound. Put together the whole song works, so very well.


Tohearmeroar - The Atlantic.

I would love to tell you all about Tohearmeroar, however beyond the fact they are a musician/band from Queens, New York, (USA), it would appear everything else is on 'a need to know' basis only.

Anyhow our music feature policy remains 'if we like it and we can feature it, we will'. One thing Tohearmeroar have been generous with is the amount of songs they have shared on Soundcloud. Some more on the Facebook page (here).

'The Atlantic' is the latest song, and having checked out the others my first impression is one of a developing maturity in the music and singing. Vocals are stand out, there is a passion that just can't help but come across in the featured track. It just sounds so very much, music from the heart.


Friday, 2 October 2015

Friday Uplift: Rabid Young - Peter Henry Phillips - Indiago

Rabid Young - Not Enough.

Background - At some point in 2014, Las Vegas musician Eric Rickey found himself at the end of a well-travelled road wondering where to go next.

That year Eric’s previous band, Most Thieves, had opened for the Killers through Europe and Canada, playing arenas and getting a taste of international success. Reflecting on the experience Eric explains: “We had all the opportunity in the world but for whatever reason it didn’t pan out.” That tour culminated in a home town show at the Cosmo on New Year’s Eve where they played for thousands of people before the members decided to take a break from the project. It was at this pinnacle, looking out at the sea of eager faces, when the words “rabid young” popped into his head.

Back in Vegas, Rickey joined up with friend and fellow musician Jackson Wilcox (A Crowd of Small Adventures) and the two began plotting their new endeavour with fellow Most Thieves alum Bobby Lee Parker (guitar), as well as Matthew Long (drummer for Roky Erickson) and Alex Stopa (The Silver State, Big Talk). Each of the band members’ musical pedigree was solid but they were all involved in more “heady” forms of rock. This was going to be an unabashedly deliberate attempt to go in a pop rock direction under the new banner. The newly christened Rabid Young decamped at Eric’s studio, Electric Animal, which is usually booked up by local talent (Eric provides bands an affordable place to track when he is not working in the audio department for Cirque du Soleil).

The result is the bands freshly minted self-titled debut EP, mixed by Grammy winning engineer Adam J. Odor. While the songs are influenced by classic rock, the production palette is strictly 21st century and one can tell that plenty of thought went into deconstructing the radio pop that took hold of the charts in the 80's and fusing it with its not-so-distant cousin; current top 40; straight forward lyrics cut right to the heart of the matter, melodies leap from the speakers and a metric ton of shimmering keyboards cascade over the methodical beats.

'Not Enough' is from the bands debut EP released today, and is indicative of the five songs on the EP. It's a creative mix of synth pop with a rockier edge, all of which have a generally bright and breezy feel to them.


Peter Henry Phillips - I Wanna Go.

Bio and Info - Canadian singer-songwriter and producer Peter Henry Phillips will make his highly anticipated American debut at Culture Collide in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 8 at Taix and Friday, Oct. 9 at The Champagne Room. 

Peter Henry Phillips has been working on his solo project for over five years. The Origin is inspired by nature and the beauty surrounding our daily endeavours. Phillips’ mesmerising melodies have a soothing quality, maintaining a symbiosis with the charismatic and introspective feel of the album. With the cinematographic opening piece “The Wind,” the joyful first single “I Wanna Go,” and the Lennonesque “Burn & Crash,” Phillips has solidified his place among today’s elite songwriters.

In addition to having written, composed, and produced The Origin, Peter played keyboards, guitar, bass, and pedal steel. According to Peter, his debut full-length captures his generous nature and his impassioned approach to life: “This album represents my desire to exist and to share my passion for life, music, and humanity. It has helped me to remember where I’m from and to better know where I want to go.”

Peter Henry Phillips, known as Pilou in Canada, became a fixture on the Quebec scene via his work with artists such as Jorane, Ariane Moffatt, and Tomas Jensen. The Asbestos native also collaborated with Maxime Morin, better known as DJ Champion, as the lead vocalist for his last two albums, Resistance and °1. In 2010, Pilou became one of Quebec’s most beloved singers when he performed on the television show Belle & Bum.

During the past decade, Peter has worked as a producer for a variety of artists, including Marie-Jo Thério (Chasing Lydie), Philippe Brach (La foire et l’ordre), and Sébastien Lacombe (Territoires). The multi-talented artist performed on the original soundtrack of Denys Arcand’s last movie, Le règne de la beauté, which included two of his original songs in the score.

'I Wanna Go' is one of those songs that feet cannot stay still to, it kinda makes me feel I need to march along to it. Really fine vocals and a sweeping production, make this a really nice engaging tune.


Indiago - Been So Long.

Background provided - Mixing the perfect blend of a funky rhythm section and ambient guitars, with the heaviness and huge Rock sound the band is known for, the new single ‘Been So Long’ is a breath of fresh air from Adelaide Hills rockers Indiago. 

Off the back of their Independent EP in 2013, and single release ‘Fleetwood' earlier in the year, the new track is a true testament to the complexity and diversity in the young band's song writing.

Heading back to Hothouse Audio, St. Kilda, and joining forces once again with legendary Producers Craig Harnath and Jez Giddings (Jet, Kingswood, The Living End, Ash Grunwald, Dan Sultan), this could be Indiago's most up- beat and positive songs to date.

"We wanted to write something more uplifting," says lead singer Will Solomon, "something people could move to, while still staying true to our signature sound."

The constant moving of funky bass, played by AJ Janus and the scattered, intricate drums of Shane Cox, teamed up with wailing, reverbed guitars from James Fishers and Harry Townsend, opens the song with a head-nodding, but smooth intro. Frontman Will Solomon compliments the vibe with a catchy, soulful melody that flows through the music. In true Indiago style, the song builds and builds, and climaxes with three huge guitar tones, thrashing drum and bass and gritty vocals that soar across the track, leading into a double-time ending of full-on, fast paced Rock-and-Roll.

The vocals demand attention, whilst the rest of the band demand you just love the whole song. There is an underlying power in the music that is constrained, to allow the positive feelings to run free.


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Drive-By Truckers - Live at Cooley's House, 2003 (IA)

From the Internet Archive (IA) this is the Drive-By Truckers in a private family and friends performance at band member Mike Cooley's House in Gardendale, Alabama, USA.

It is an incredible acoustic performance with superb audio quality and as one reviewer put it " this recording is amazing. I was having a few beers listening to it and the next thing I know I'm doing shots of Elijah Craig and singing out loud like a jackass".

Of the time before and around this session Wikipedia say's - After three years on the road, a tight-knit group of musicians emerged and began work on 2001's double album, Southern Rock Opera. The album weaves the history of Lynyrd Skynyrd into a narrative about a fictitious rock band called "Betamax Guillotine," whose story unfolds within the context of the South during the 1970s. Southern Rock Opera was originally released independently on Drive-By Truckers' own Soul Dump Records on September 12, 2001, and garnered praise from fans and critics alike. In order to meet the new demand brought on by, among other things, a four-star review in Rolling Stone, Southern Rock Opera was re-issued by Mercury and Lost Highway Records in July 2002. Soon after, Drive-By Truckers were named Band of the Year by No Depression.

Before Drive-By Truckers went on tour in support of Southern Rock Opera, the band ran into a problem when they were left with only two guitarists (Cooley and Hood) following the departure of Rob Malone in late 2001. The band added fellow Alabamian guitarist and songwriter Jason Isbell (originally from Greenhill, Alabama) to their line-up as the band's third guitarist. During his five years with Drive-By Truckers, Isbell's compositions became as highly praised as those of Cooley and Hood. After signing a new deal with Austin-based record label New West, Drive-By Truckers set about recording the follow-up to Southern Rock Opera. The result was 2003's Decoration Day, which, like its predecessor, received much critical praise. It was another concept album, containing characters who are faced with hard decisions about marriage, incest, break-ups, revenge, murder, and suicide.

After years of producing and playing with Drive-By Truckers, bassist Earl Hicks left the band on December 22, 2003. Hicks was immediately replaced by studio bassist Shonna Tucker, then wife of guitarist Jason Isbell. Tucker had previously guested on Decoration Day playing upright bass on the Cooley-penned track, "Sounds Better in the Song."

Recording Details: AKG 483 -> HHB PDR-1000. Lineage Tascam DA-20mkII -> S/PDIF -> HHB CDR830 -> EAC -> Cool Edit Pro(DSP) -> shntool -> CDWave -> mkwACT -> SHN -> FLAC. Taped by Chris Pennington.

Sound Quality: Excellent (your in the room with them).

Set List:

01) Zip City
02) Lookout Mountain
03) Decoration Day
04) Winter Wonderland
05) Love Like This
06) Too Much Sex, Too Little Jesus
07) Outfit
08) Where The Devil Don't Stay
09) Murdering Oscar
10) When The Pin Hits The Shell
11) Do It Yourself
12) Danko/Manuel
13) George Jones Talkin' Cellphone Blues
14) Uncle Frank
15) Goddamned Lonely Love
16) The Company I Keep
17) Little Pony And The Great Big Horse
18) Never Gonna Change
19) The Day John Henry Died
20) Tales Facing Up
21) Bulldozers And Dirt

Website: Official Here.

Comments: There are FLAC, Ogg Vorbis and mp3 download files, along with the streaming material over at the Internet Archive (here).

Stream Below: 

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wednesday Double: Eleven Eleven - John Byrne Band

Eleven Eleven - The Original.

Background - Eleven Eleven is a formation of two bands who morphed together back in 2012. Consisting of Kaitlin Brown on vocals, Max Heaslip on bass, Otto Falson-Ree on drums, and Harry Brown on guitar, they mix the worlds of riff-rock and sweet melodic vocals to create huge, unique walls of sound. Eleven Eleven have been recognised on several occasions, being nominated at the Music Oz awards, working their way into the Top 50 of Triple J Unearthed several times and hitting number one with the track ‘King Tide’, as well as gaining a 5 star review from Alex Dyson on Unearthed, who commented that "Some people are young, some people rock. These guys cover both categories, then smash the categories against an amp and walk off the stage flipping the bird at the crowd."

Eleven Eleven is currently working on new material whilst they release their new single ‘The Original’ through The A&R Department. 'The Original was the very first song we ever wrote as a band. It came out of a jam we had at our very first band practise, and a couple of weeks later with a bit more fine trimming and streamlining it became the song that it is today. This song came about as we were sick and tired of the monotony of modern music. We wanted to make something different, riffy, and heavy, as well as having catchy melodies and some unique harmonies.” ‘The Original’ was recorded at Paradyme Studios and mixed at Hercules Street Studios.

Rock with a chunky bass and a driving rhythm, courtesy of some sharp guitar playing and pounding drums. It's just right for Kaitlin Brown's vocals. It's rock and it's straight to the point.


John Byrne Band - The Immigrant And The Orphan.

Background - Philadelphia-based Celtic Folk / Americana group John Byrne Band are pleased to announce the release of their new record on Philly-based label Ri-Ra Records.

The John Byrne Band is led by former Patrick's Head front man and Dublin native John Byrne. Their debut album, After the Wake, was released to critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic in 2011. With influences ranging from The Chieftains to Planxty to Bob Dylan, John’s songwriting honours and expands upon the musical and lyrical traditions of his native and adopted homes. On this LP, John's band features members of Amos Lee, Calexico, The Fractals, Huffamoose and The Modern Inventors.

In late 2012, John Byrne had a new batch of songs written for the follow up to his critically acclaimed 2011 album After the Wake. Then, as often happens, life intervened. An accident that left him needing surgery and months of recuperation, coupled with personal tragedy and loss, left him staring at a body of work that held, for him, little meaning anymore. “The songs were fine, they were good songs, I just couldn’t find myself in them anymore, “says Byrne from his home in the Fishtown neighbourhood of Philadelphia. With Byrne’s fan-base clamouring for a promised new release, John and his touring band recorded 2013’s Celtic Folk, a collection of folk tunes from Ireland and America that the band had been sliding into their live sets during the After the Wake tours.

The album, which would eventually make the Folk DJ Charts, entering at number 36 (FolkRadio.Org), gave Byrne the time he needed to reflect and write. “I wrote about the bad stuff and the amazingly good stuff that came out of the bad,” he reveals. The result of this is The Immigrant and the Orphan, an album of 12 songs that Terry Roland of No Depression magazine in LA, who stumbled upon the band on their recent Kickstarter campaign, calls “Some of the finest songwriting I have heard this year, each tune on this album carries an honesty, integrity, and quiet passion that will draw you into its world for years to come”.  Roland had only heard rough mixes that Byrne felt comfortable sharing with the writer after an interview. “There is anger, joy, sadness and reflection in the songs, “says Byrne, “But most of all I wanted to get to the very deepest root of each situation, to be open, to be exposed, but to leave the listener room to enter, interpret and find their own meaning in the songs.” Byrne’s skillful handling of the subjects has led to some of his most honest yet accessible songs to date, as witnessed in the first single Dirty, Used Up, Chewed Up, Screwed Up Love, a defiant folk-rock song with strong echoes of John Hiatt and Lucinda Williams. The B-Side, Sing on Johnny, is an homage to his Father.

The band features: John Byrne: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar: Rob Shaffer, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Banjo, Dobro, Tambourine, Vocals: Andrew J. Keenan, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Banjo, Dobro, Ukulele, Pedal Steel, Vocals: Maura Dwyer, Violin and Cello: Dorie Byrne, Accordion, Trombone, Vocals: Walt Epting, Drums: Vince Tampio, Trumpet and Flugelhorn: Jim Stager: Bass, Ken Pendergast: Bass, Jaron Olevsky: Piano and Organ, The Modern Inventors: Backing vocals.

The role call alone shows that this is far more than a solo effort by John Byrne. If any element of Celtic Folk or Americana is your thing, then this album is an absolute yes. John has a very listenable vocal range and each song is a journey within itself. Despite the size of the cast, the attention to detail and gentle feel in some songs, makes for a very uncluttered and enjoyable album.


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Tuesdays Genre Mix: The Pacers - Victoria Celestine - Absinthe Rose

The Pacers - Losing Touch.

Background - The Pacers draw their influences from the sixties Psych/Garage scene, mixing it up with their own unique ideas to create unforgettable and  energetic live performances in the same vein as The Stooges and The Stones, with a healthy dose of freak out psychedelia.

The band formed in the late summer of 2013 when Alexander Friedl and guitarist Harry Stam met under what they describe as "mysterious circumstances". With a shared interest in all things 60's and a desire to escape the monotony of everyday life, they duo picked up their guitars and began writing songs. 

A former band mate of Harry, bass player Jay Creswell, was next to join The Pacers, closely followed by drummer Jamie Yuan. With the line up complete, the band set about making a name for themselves on the underground music scene, playing a string of venues primarily in north and east London which have earned them a loyal and ever increasing fan base. 'Losing Touch' is their debut single.

The Band: Alex Friedl - Vocals, Guitar, Harry Stam - Lead Guitar, Jay Creswell - Bass, Jamie Yuan - Drums.

A modern twist on what was the music of my youth (yep - that old), 'Losing Touch' is an excellent introduction, genuinely leaving me wanting to hear, a whole lot more by this band. A must listen and a reminder that there is much to mine from past musical styles, and opportunities to put your own slant on things.


Victoria Celestine - As We Grow Old.

Background - Coming off the success of her second single, “Something More,” innovative and avant-garde artist Victoria Celestine has released her anticipated third single, “As We Grow Old”.  The sultry and energetic track is the latest off of Victoria Celestine’s upcoming debut EP (due for release within the next year). The first single off of the EP, “Wasted Tears” was released in June 2015 with accompanying music video. With the pop synth rhythms reviving their way back into popular music, Victoria is a stand out new artist bringing 80’s style to her video similar to the likes of Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance.”

Not to be overlooked as another cheeky pop artist Victoria Celestine is truly the odd one out.  Having spent her early years growing up on two ends of the world, France and in San Antonio, Texas, music became Victoria’s fluent language. With piano as a first instrument, she expanded her horizons by picking up the guitar as a teenager once moving back to the US and has never looked back. Combined with the talent of song writing, she is a unique force to be reckoned with.

Coming across Victoria at an open mic in down town San Antonio, Gordon Raphael (producer of The Strokes, Regina Spektor and more) invited her to have her first studio experience recording her first seven songs acoustically.  Harnessing her song writing capabilities, Victoria has placed in the International Song writing Competition four years in a row.  She was also a nominee in the International Acoustic Music Awards and has charted on the iTunes Charts. Look for these three songs that she produced with Blake Harnage (of Versa) when she was only 17, on an EP next year.

Bright and breezy synth pop, plus Victoria's vocals seemingly just right for this style of music. The production is light with neither the soundtrack or the vocals, disturbing the other, highly enjoyable.


Absinthe Rose - Stories Of Our Youth, (From the album 'Black Earth').

Biography - Absinthe Rose is a Boston based Folk band consisting of singer songwriter Kimbo Rose on acoustic guitar and vocals and a core rhythm section of well-seasoned Boston area music veterans. The band mixes different styles of music including Folk, Americana, Gypsy Jazz, Blues, Punk and whatever else they feel like into a original and diverse sound! Regular touring and a tight live performance mixed with a strong DIY ethic and both personal and political subject matter has quickly gained the band notoriety in the underground DIY music scene! 

The musical brainchild of singer songwriter Kimbo Rose and was originally formed in 2008 as a solo acoustic project based out of the Medford and Ashland Oregon area. In 2009 Kimbo Rose relocated to Boston MA and self-released her debut CD entitled Digging Ditches & Escaping Holes on her newly formed DIY record label she named Screech Owl Records. This was a ten-track solo acoustic album of material she had been playing for years in Oregon and recorded in Boston. In the spring of 2010 Kimbo Rose partnered up with Bill on Bass, Josh on Banjo, Nick on Electric Guitar and Rich on Drums and the band as you know it today was born! 

They recorded their debut EP with the full band entitled “Consistency Through Scepticism And Awareness” in the fall of 2010 and began playing out around the Boston area! Soon after the band embarked on their first extensive West Coast US tour in the spring of 2011 and hasn't stopped since. In the winter of 2012 they recorded their full-length album entitled The More That We Learn, The More We Learn That We’re Wrong which was released in the spring of 2013! Since then Absinthe Rose have toured the US and played regularly throughout the North East and East Coast! 

The band entered the studio in the spring on 2015 and began recording their new full length album entitled Black Earth which was self-released on the bands own label in September of 2015! This record turned out to be their most dynamic and eclectic album to date showing the bands true diversity and Kimbo's full range of lyrical and musical influences! The band is presently making plans for a full US and European Tour in 2016! The rest is 'herstory' yet to be written!

Arguably The Pogues were the first folk/punk band, albeit with a mixture of Irish traditional numbers, along with their own original songs. Absinthe Rose take on a variety of genres, that create a bigger melting pot, and they do it very well. The featured track is the only one I could find that can be shared, the album version may be a better mix, and what an album! Full of energy, attitude and angst, Absinthe Rose deliver a powerful mixture of songs, that demand yours and my attention.