Thursday, 26 May 2016

Thursday Two: The Iron Horses - Kwesi Foraes

The Iron Horses - Any Other Way.

Background promo - The Iron Horses formed in early 2015 after numerous late night boozy jamming sessions. With a great enthusiasm for cheap bourbon and nothing but time to kill on a Friday night, a group of songs began to emerge. Duncan (vox/rhythm guitar), Ciaran (lead guitar/vox), Raul (Bass) Pete (Drums).

There was no shortage of ideas and the songs came through thick and fast. After months of gigging each and every one of Sydney’s bars, the boys had accumulated enough money to completely fund their debut EP. The energy that hits you is immediately captivating and none of this is by chance. With two albums of balls out Rock & Roll already written within a year, the hardest part was deciding which songs made the cut for the Stop To Start EP.

Each song tells a story, every harmony and riff reverberates inside you. The energy that hits you is immediately captivating and none of this is by chance. With almost two albums worth of material already written, songs were handpicked for the Stop To Start EP. The hardest part was deciding which ones made the cut. The easiest part was “where to record?” and “who with?” The bands second home House Fox Studios was the studio of choice, recording with the owner Ryan Miller. After several recommendations the choice of producer was a no brainer, ex-Thirsty Merc guitarist Sean Carey.

The live performance is a hard hitting, guitar slamming, melodic Rock & Roll spectacle. 2016 looks like it will be a huge year for The Iron Horses.

Fri 27/5 - The Reverence, Melbourne VIC
Fri 3/6 - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW (EP Launch)
Sat 2/7 - The Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle NSW
Sun 3/7 - Frankies, Sydney CBD NSW

First of four tracks on the EP, 'Any Other Way' is fully energised, however it's anything but a live jam, where the band started out from. With a good ear for melodies the band deliver exciting well played (and sung) songs. The 'Stop to Start' EP will be released 27th of May 2016.


Kwesi Foraes - Heroin. 

Background bio - Twenty-three year old Kwesi Foraes, a folk-soul singer-songwriter, grew up in Long Beach California where he submersed himself early into the music scene studying, folk, rock n roll, and blues.  Foraes spent years experimenting with different music styles and bands.  But after a surge of 3 family deaths all within a year, Foraes faced a hard internal battle while struggling to overcome his personal demons that almost took his own life. 

Foraes at a point with few options of release searched for an escape & sense of truth in his music and found it like never before in darkest and most raw pockets of folk, expressing himself at the most vulnerable and visceral levels, embracing all truth and confronting all ills head on.  Writing in trances of personal experiences and vivid encounters with spirits of his past, Foraes dedicated the last 4 years to bringing a perspective that is rooted far beyond just the music.

Kwesi Foraes - 27 EP, Street Date, May 27th, 2016, Self-Released.

I was so blown away by the the song 'Pentacle 13' featured here back in early April, that the opportunity to feature another song from the excellent forthcoming six track EP is irresistible. 'Heroin' demonstrates the exciting talent that Kwesi clearly has. It also shows he is capable of developing and delivering quite inspiring music on more than one occasion. Clearly one person to watch out for.


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Genre Mix: Josh Flagg - Wailing Loons

Josh Flagg - The Floor It Shakes.

Background bio - After two EP’s, 2011’s full-length Devastate Me and relentless touring, New York City’s own Josh Flagg releases Tracing Shapes on June 3, 2016. It’s a record focused on small moments with enormous consequences. Marriage, friends, birth, rebirth, alienation, intimacy, art, compulsion, loneliness and history are themes mined and explored throughout Tracing Shapes ten tracks and they take the listener on a ride not easily forgotten.

Flagg focuses on the humanity of the characters and versions of himself in these songs. He’s looking for the right words, even when he knows they’ll hurt…especially when they hurt. It’s a darker, harder, more complex set of songs featuring a three pronged guitar attack, soaring vocals and asymmetrical songwriting.

Produced by Kieran Kelly (Sufjan Stevens, Better Than Ezra), Tracing Shapes’ sound pulled together as Flagg added a third guitarist to his live show. The three driving guitar lines allowed him to experiment with different rhythms and textures and encouraged him to push lyricism. On “The Floor It Shakes,” Flagg sings about the need to persevere through one’s faults and reoccurring mistakes. The single delivers exactly what Tracing Shapes is about - guitar driven modern rock with catchy hooks and melodies.

Of Josh Flagg's last EP (Lights Out) we said "Lush powerful guitar hooks and an equally powerful voice compete and compliment wonderfully throughout. Indie rock with a punch". The forthcoming full length 'Tracing Shapes' continues in that catchy mode, with ten more modern rock songs all demanding your attention, as they follow on from the potent opener 'The Floor It Shakes'.


Wailing Loons - Death Canoe.

Background bio -  Wailing Loons create Music for Good, driven by a mission of writing and performing music that reflects and transforms society. The Loons are now six strong, with Dan on guitar and vocals, Emilie on vocals, Casey Pavek on banjo and vocals, Nick Neylon on upright bass, Erin Manlove on viola, and Matthew Marshall on drums.

2016 will be a huge year: in partnership with Eat for Equity and Oxfam America, the band returns to play #MusicForGood on the Solar Powered Stage for two nights of Bonnaroo. The Loons also headline the Wild Springs Festival, immerse in community at MBOTMA Festival, and return to raise money for local YMCA Camps at the 2nd Annual Prairie Burn Festival in Wisconsin.

Wailing Loons just released their debut mini-LP "Fire in the Cold" in April of 2016 after recording with Neil Weir at Old Blackberry Way. Here's to building a stronger community through music together!

Minneapolis based folk/bluegrass/rock band Wailing Loons, released 'Fire In The Cold' a wonderful album last month (April). Featured song 'Death Canoe' was also a single release. This is a band who come across as just loving to play, you can feel it in the songs. Musicianship is top class as are the delightful vocals and harmonies. If you are unsure about folk or bluegrass, tip your toe in the water with this album, there will be no looking back!


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Globetrotting: Elk & Mammoth - Silent Wave - Cairobi

Elk & Mammoth - Shiver.

Background promo - Four-piece indie rock outfit Elk + Mammoth are stoked to announce the release of their debut EP, Culprit, with the single “Shiver” (recorded and produced by James Clark) out now.

Described as like a funky Lynchian dream, Culprit combines sinister staccato vocals and guitar riffs that could have been lifted straight out of the original Twin Peaks soundtrack. The result is both playful and unsettling, but be warned, the groove is infectious and side-effects may include drinking coffee black as midnight on a moonless night.

Since forming in 2014, they have established a herd of followers, performing their signature blend of unpredictable humour, unusual subject matter, and mid-set-on-stage outfit changes at venues all over Melbourne. They have played with artists such as The Pierce Brothers, Slim Jefferies, and Pockets, and gained traction with the release of their single “Fabric”, in 2015.‘Culprit’ EP will be released 3rd of June 2016 and features the single ‘Shiver’.

'Shiver' is one of four songs and the single from soon to be released EP 'Culprit'. What is particularly striking about the release is the bands distinctive sound being taken in a variety of directions. The melody is always there and they are happy to slow things down on a couple of the songs. It's a fine collection that displays musical maturity and creativity.


Silent Wave - War.

Background bio - Electronic pop trio Silent Wave release their anthemic single "War" as the first offering from Gothenburg-based label Silence Productions, a new extension of Luxury Records focusing on limited vinyl singles

Silent Wave first began as a collaboration between artist Tildeh Hjelm and producer Hans Olsson Brookes. In 2013, Hjelm  approached Brookes with a pair of tracks intended for her solo-project to employ his production expertise. Their straightforward studio sessions began to evolve into something more kinetic. Inspired by the creative energy, Brooke suggested they turn the songs into a new project entirely and so Silent Wave was born.

From its genesis, Silent Wave’s power has been generated by the members’ eclectic backgrounds. An accomplished visual artist and film student, Hjelm not only writes most of the lyrics and melodies but also produces the project’s music videos. Brookes boasts an impressive resume for his work as a producer, engineer and multi-instrumentalist having mixed intentionally renowned Swedish artists like I Break Horses, José González and Junip.

The same can be said of Hjelm and Brookes’ converging musical influences. Hjelm kneels at the alter of RnB and Hip Hip set while Brookes leans more towards electronic-minded artists like Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Kraftwerk and The Cure.

Silent Wave released its debut single “Dream On, Dream On” along with b-side track “Only Love, Nothing More” in November of 2014. The duo followed the tracks with accompanying music videos produced by Hjelm. During the spring of 2015, Silent Wave added member Martin Öhman to the mix, a trained jazz drummer who brings an organic and acoustic, percussive human groove to the electronic beats.

'War' is indeed something of an anthemic piece, but definitely not a wall of sound. It's musically precise allowing space for the melody and instruments to stand out, along with the ideally suited vocals.


Cairobi - Lupo.

Background promo - Cairobi have announced their new single "Lupo," which will be available on July 1, and debut self-titled album Cairobi which will be released on September 16 through Week of Wonders. They have also announced a headline show at London's Birthdays on July 25.

Cairobi are a headily eclectic globe-crossing four piece of Giorgio Poti (vocals,guitars), Alessandro Marrosu (bass), Salvador Garza (keys) and Aurelien Bernard(drums). Their psych-pop, world music bordering sound reflects their various backgrounds from Italy and Mexico via France, and has received support from the likes of 6Music and Huw Stephens at Radio1. "Lupo" follows the band's 2014 Distant Fire EP and the single "Gristly Words," which is taken from their forthcoming debut record along with EP track Zoraide. Lupo is a hypnotically lush yet despondently exultant track featuring exotic grooves and synth-dappled psychedelic haziness and can be listened to here "Lupo."

Their debut self-produced album was written in Berlin and, fittingly with their diverse nationalities, was recorded between Berlin, London, Rome and New York. Music and this resulting album was Giorgio's means of finding his way through health problems, as after relocating to Berlin, he started to suffer frequent, violent migraines that would incapacitate him for an average of twelve days a month.

"I could either stay still, in silence, eyes shut, or take the medication and hope it worked so I could move on with my day," he recalls. "Even when the medicine worked, it would make me extremely sleepy, so some of the music and lyrics on this record were written in a state of drowsiness. That part wasn't particularly fun, but maybe it helped me get rid of some filters. Luckily, the headaches stopped after about a year." The finished record has an inventive hazy psychedelic sound with gorgeous pop-song structures and experimental arrangements, yet there is also an intriguing,melodious melancholy across the 11-tracks.

Following live dates last year, the band are already confirmed for two UK headline shows in July along with performances at summer festivals. Full lives dates announced so far are as follows:

Sat 23rd Huntingdon Secret Garden Party
Sun 24th Reading Oakford Social Club
Mon 25th London Birthdays
August: - Wed 10th Italy Contronatura Festival
September: - Fri 23rd-Sat 24th Liverpool Psych Fest.

If it's melody and hooks you want 'Lupo' has them in bucket loads. A rich musical texture under scores the dreamy vocals, on what is a highly likeable, play it again type song.


Monday, 23 May 2016

Singers & Songs: Fleurie - Rachael Sage - Tom Misch

Fleurie - Breathe.

Background Bio - Nashville musician Fleurie has released her latest single, "Breathe," a surging track that builds from sparse piano and breathy vocals to pounding drums and crashing strings. In the past year, Fleurie has released four singles and her EP Arrows, which received widespread recognition.

Growing up in Canton, MI, Lauren studied classical piano from an early age, and later developed her love of music while attending school in Australia. Once she moved to Nashville, her professional career as a songwriter began to take shape. With the help of producer Matt Stanfield, and the mixing work of Dave Schiffman (Haim, Charli XCX, Brandon Flowers), Fleurie's recent Arrows EP came to life. Most recently, Fleurie traveled to Stockholm, Sweden to perform at the Royal Swedish Opera with members of the Stockholm Symphony. The experience blended her classical background, with Fleurie's modern electronic/pop sound.

We featured Fleurie last August, commenting at the time on her delightful vocals. 'Breathe' is where we take up her story again, and it is one impressive song. That the song builds and builds is an understatement, it goes from light to epic and with considerable style.


Rachael Sage - Loreena (acoustic).

Background promo - Award-winning recording artist Rachael Sage has released her latest full-length studio album, Choreographic (MPress/ILS/Caroline). Self-described as "ballet-pop", Sage delivers a musically ambitious and emotionally accessible tribute to her very first love: Dance. Fresh off the heels of her 16th song placement on Lifetime TV's Dance Moms, Sage and her music have reached an ever-widening audience since her previous release "Blue Roses", amassing over 9.5 million views on YouTube.

Sage has been leading up to the album release with a string of song premieres including "I've Been Waiting", "Heaven (Is A Grocery Clerk)", "Loreena", and "Try Try Try", which is currently at #50 and climbing on the AC Top 200 chart. A soulful vocalist and innovative multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and producer Rachael Sage has become one of the busiest touring artists in independent music, performing 100+ dates a year with her band The Sequins throughout the US, UK, Europe and Asia. She has earned a loyal following for her dynamic piano playing, delicate guitar work, soulful vocals and improvisational audience interaction.

Sage has shared stages with Sarah McLachlan, A Great Big World, Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn, Jamie Cullum, The Animals and Ani DiFranco. She has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and received numerous songwriting awards including The John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Grand Prize) and several Independent Music Awards. Her songs have appeared on MTV, HBO, the "Fame" soundtrack, and 16 of her songs have appeared in the last 3 seasons of Lifetime's controversial reality series, "Dance Moms" (including several songs accompanying breakout Sia video star Maddie Ziegler's winning routines). 

Jun 02     How The Light Gets In Festival Hay-On-Wye, UK
Jun 05     Hotel Utah San Francisco, CA
Jun 07     The Hotel Cafe West Hollywood, CA
Jun 09     Uncommon Ground - Edgewater Chicago, IL
Jun 11     The Ark w/ Mary Fahl Ann Arbor, MI
Jun 12     Seven Steps Up Spring Lake, MI
Jun 15     The Ninth Ward at Babeville Buffalo, NY
Jun 24     Stoltz Listening Room Easton, MD
Jul 21     Ladybug Festival - Loma Coffee Wilmington, DE
Jul 24     The Burren Somerville, MA
Sept 10     Shank Hall Milwaukee, WI
Nov 18     Nikolaisaal Potsdam Potsdam, Germany.

'Loreena' is a lovely song and an excellent sampler for the new album 'Choreographic'. The release is made up of twelve self penned titles and personally I think each one is a gem. Described as chamber pop, I think her music goes wider than that, and it's the attention to detail that really gives Rachael Sage considerable edge.


Tom Misch - Watch Me Dance.

Background promo - Prodigious 21-year old South East Londoner Tom Misch announces his first live EP “Reverie” and that it will be released 15th July through his own label Beyond The Groove. Today he shares the first cut “Watch Me Dance”.

Tom’s new EP is an intrepid and invigorating adventure in sound, bursting with inventiveness. Taking the musical ingredients of J Dilla style beats, John Mayer- esque guitar lines, and free jazz - then putting them all through his very own musical blender. “Reverie” is the most definitive moment of his career to date, foreign and colorful arrangements will entice even the most casual listener. “The reverie EP is a result of me wanting to take slightly more of a role as a songwriter and singer. It's the first release I sing on every track and hopefully indicates the direction I want to go for my debut album,” says Tom about his new EP.

Tom’s success thus far can be partly attributed to the dedicated fan-base he has built single-handedly, evidenced by his 200+k online followers and the frequency with which he reaches the Hype Machine top position. Tom’s previous releases Beat Tape 1 & 2 which he made while still in school are a combination of beats and more fully fledged songs which find the sweet spot between electronica, hip-hop and acoustic. Beat Tape 2 has had over 150 plays on Beats1 and over 10million plays on Spotify continues to find new fans across world and is now available on vinyl. Tracklisting: 1. Crazy Dream feat Loyle Carner, 2. Follow feat Laura Misch, 3. I Wish, 4. Watch Me Dance.

Live dates:
Sunday 29th May – Lincolnshire – Lost Village
Saturday 4th June – Ireland – Forbidden Fruit
Friday 10th June –Paris – Majestic Casual @ YOYO Club
Sunday 26th June – Somerset – Glastonbury
Friday 1st July – Netherlands – Pitch Festival
Saturday 2nd July – Netherlands – Japies Hof Festival
Sunday 28th August – Malta – The Sound You Need Festival.

'Watch Me Dance' has already clocked up thousands of listens in the first few hours. That's hardly surprising given the previous success Tom has enjoyed, however at the end of the day it's about the music, and this is such a delightful and pleasing song. EP eagerly awaited!


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Dreamy Sunday: Pale Dian - A.R.Kane - Puro Instinct

Pale Dian - Evan Evan.

Background promo - Formed in 2015, Austin-based dream pop trio Pale Dian ride the ashes of their previous project, Blackstone Rngrs, into smudgier, esoteric terrains. The debut LP Narrow Birth is set for a June 3rd release via Manifesto Records, the current home of Dead Kennedys, legendary psyche-pop band the Turtles, and modern signees Puro Instinct, Cellars, Band Aparte, and Drinking Flowers. 

The record explores power and weakness, birth and decay, love and abandonment, beauty and abrasiveness. Narrow Birth refers to both the fragility of life and the complete and utter randomness that we, as humans, even exist on this planet in the first place. It exposes the naked realities confronting us all: "here is me, and there is you,  so now what?
LP, CD, Digital, CS Release Date: June 3rd, 2016

06/03 - Austin, TX - Swan Dive *LP Release Party*
06/07 - Albuquerque, NM - The Bungalow (house show)
06/08 - El Paso, TX - Lowbrow Palace
06/09 - Tucson, AZ - The Flycatcher
06/10 - San Diego, CA - Whistle Stop
06/12 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo *Part Time Punks & LP Release*
06/13 - San Francisco, CA - Elbo Room
06/15 - Sacramento, CA - The Starlight
06/16 - Eugene, OR - The Boreal
06/17 - Portland, OR - High Water Mark
06/18 - Seattle, WA - Salmon Town
06/19 - Vancouver, BC - Rickshaw Theatre
06/21 - Olympia, WA - Obsidian
06/22 - Spokane, WA - Baby's Bar
06/23 - Missoula, MN - Palace Lounge
06/24 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Borough
06/25 - Grand Junction, CO - The Electric Ballroom
06/26 - Denver, CO - Syntax Physic Opera
06/27 - Omaha, NB - Milk Run
06/28 - Lincoln, NB - Duffy's
06/29 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mews
06/30 - Minneapolis, MN - Licorice Beach

The song 'Evan Evan' is a mixture of shoegaze and dream pop sounds. It's only one of two songs I have heard from Pale Dian and my initial impression of their music, is one of a band with plenty of original ideas and highly creative music. Similarities may be there, that's a little difficult to avoid in such defined genres, however the band come across with energy and a passion for their craft.


A.R.Kane - Green Hazed Daze.

Background Info - Not long ago after their reformation, pioneering dream pop outfit and legendary former 4AD artist A.R. Kane have announced they will be playing multiple shows this summer. Coining the term 'dream pop' for the music they make back in the 1980's, the group went on to influence everyone from My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive to Andrew Weatherall - whose long-running night A Love From Outer Space derives its name from their seminal 1989 track, and also were an important progenitor of such genres as shoegaze, trip hop, acid house and post-rock.

They will be playing Soup Kitchen in Manchester on Monday, May 23. This will be the first time an A.R. Kane line-up has played a non-festival headlining show in about 22 years (the last ones being at CBGBs in NYC and at Hammersmith, supporting David Byrne) and their first in Manchester since playing Manchester Boardwalk in 1987. This is also the first live performance this year, arriving ahead of their slot at Primavera Sound Festival in June and The Good Ship in London on July 13.

Last summer, A.R. Kane made several festival appearances with the new line-up featuring original 'Kaners Rudy and Maggie Tambala, as well as a new member - Andy Taylor. In their coming festival repertoire, they will be performing classic A.R. Kane songs, alongside a handful of new songs. Apart from that, they will also be recording new material for release in 2016.

A.R.Kane are featured primarily as they have live dates coming up ( including Manchester tomorrow), and it's a good enough reason listen to one of their fine songs. Featured track 'Green Hazed Daze' does exactly what it says on the label, it's dreamy, hazed and kind of dazed.


Puro Instinct - Tell Me.

Background promo - Autodrama sees Puro Instinct return to their roots, telling the story of a youth spent in the decay of Hollywood. “The infrastructure of Hollywood that people have known for years is this inflated egotistical, hedonistic wasteland,” says Piper. “There’s an awareness of our responsibility to create more meaningful works of art that don’t satisfy the immediate thirst of Hollywood popcorn. Lyrically, one of my goals is to get into that psychology, to push myself to talk about all the things that hurt me about living in Hollywood. I’ve never allowed myself to play along because of my values, for better or for worse. What we’re going for is pop music to not be about vanity and wealth, but still pop music nonetheless.”

For Skylar, the album’s recording coincided with her graduation from LACHSA. “As soon as I was out of school, I found that I was inspired by sound in an entirely new way,” Skylar says. “We decided to spearhead the production of the record ourselves and it was interesting how the arrangements helped convey aspects of ourselves that weren’t easily expressed through language. I was drawn to the spatial relationships between the sounds, the warped rhythms, the melody ideas. It was important to produce everything in a way that felt allencompassing, like peering into a diamond of our truths, recollections, worries, fantasies.”

The results are a purified, more self-assured Puro Instinct. Featuring instrumental performances by Ariel Pink, Franco Falsini of Sensations Fix, and Richard “Sax” Ross, Autodrama is not only lush, but danceable. Skylar’s guitar skills have been given the room they need to create the shimmering planes and ringing angelic textures they always needed. “Six of Swords” is spacious, space-age pop, like Kylie Minogue in zero gravity—but with cryptic, vulnerable lyrics not usually imbued in pop music. “We’re using the vernacular of pop,” Piper says, “but with our values and our soul.”

Tour Dates:
06/30 – Washington, DC – DC9 *
07/01 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s *
07/02 – New York, NY – The Bowery Ballroom *
07/03 – Allston, MA – Great Scott *
07/05 – Montreal, QC – Bar Le “Ritz” P.D.B. *
07/06 – Toronto, ON – The Garrison *
07/08 – Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern *
07/09 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry *
07/12 – Seattle, WA – Sunset Tavern *
07/13 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios *
07/15 – San Francisco, CA – Swedish American Hall *
07/17 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo *
07/19 – San Diego, CA – The Hideout *
07/20 – Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar *
07/22 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada *
07/23 – Austin, TX – Barracuda *
07/25 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade *
07/26 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle *
07/27 – Baltimore, MD – Ottobar *
* = w/Fear of Men

'Tell Me' is a taster for the forthcoming album 'Autodrama' and a chance to announce that Puro Instinct will be opening for Fear of Men on tour this Summer (dates above). The song is catchy and melodic and a fine tease for the album due in late June.


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Saturday &: Heliotropes - Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal - Fieu - Hockey Dad

Heliotropes - Normandy.

Background promo - Brooklyn-based Heliotropes have released the official audio for 'Normandy,' the second track from their upcoming album Over There That Way, out July 15 via The End Records. Heliotropes is comprised of founding member/songwriter/vocalist Jessica Numsuwankijkul, along with a rotating cast of collaborators, including drummer Gregg Giuffré, bassist Richard Thomas, and guitarist Ricci Swift, who are all featured on the band's upcoming album.

The band's first recorded offering came with 2012's Ribbons 7", followed the next year by their debut LP entitled A Constant Sea, which was named by Mother Jones as one of the 10 Best Albums Of 2013. Since then, the band has performed on the road with Esben And The Witch and toured nationally with stops at South By Southwest, Firefly and Culture Collide, sharing the stage with a far-reaching variety of bands including Thurston Moore, The Geto Boys, Matt and Kim, Kurt Vile, Parquet Courts, The Black Angels and The Raveonettes.

 6/16 - New York, NY - Palisades

Heliotropes have a lush flowing sound within the song 'Normandy' drawn along by soft captivating vocals and a strong melodic line. It compares well with previous offering 'Easy' and suggests we are in for a diverse and pleasing album this coming July.


Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal - Natural.

Background promo - Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal’s combination of soul, funk and R&B is in a word, electric. Best displayed in their high-energy live show, the blend of Hoyer’s honest lyrics and his soulful (sometimes in-your-face) vocals merge with his top-notch band to create an undeniable chemistry.

The magic of their live show caught the attention of producer Ken Coomer (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo), who joined with the band to record their third full-length album. Their most ambitious project to date, Running From Love was recorded at Nashville’s historic Sound Emporium, and once again features Hoyer’s trademark vocals and the band’s signature groove. The album was released on April 8, 2016, on Silver Street Records, on vinyl, CD and digital formats.

The hard working band completed several national tours in 2015, playing more than 150 shows in 32 states, including opening for R&B legends George Clinton/Funkadelic and Booker T Jones.

The band is supporting the release of the new album with tours through the Midwest and Southern markets, including Omaha, Denver, Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, Chicago, St Louis, Indianapolis, and Nashville, among others.

They have been described as "Authentic Soul/Funk with a punch...", and I cannot argue with that. 'Natural' is one of ten potent songs on what is a exceptional collection of tracks. Josh Hoyer has the power and energy a vocalist needs to surround himself with such excellent musicians, especially when they seem hell bent on bringing the roof down.


Fieu - Impossible.

Background promo - Harnessing her widespread musical ability to embrace a new and refined sonic direction, Queensland alt-pop revelation Fieu (Emily Brewis) brings absolute fire in new single ‘Impossible’.

Since releasing a debut EP in 2014, she has topped Triple J Unearthed charts, gained national radio play, and been recognised for her writing with "Honourable Mentions" in the International Songwriting Competition and QMusic Awards. With a growing CV of support credentials for artists including Woodlock, Montaigne and Ayl a, Fieu is a fresh face that is swiftly becoming a familiar one.

'Impossible' may as well refer to Emily’s vocal prowess, which while being absolutely stunning, is perfectly showcased in this single. This was achieved with the help of Aria award winning producer Joel Quatermain (Meg Mac, Eskimo Jo e, Little Birdy) who has strengthened her ability to layer detailed instrumentation under soaring vocals. Being the first of many releases prepared for 2016, ‘Impossible’ is the perfect intro to the new Fieu. Impossible single launch at Brisbane's The Zoo, June 2nd.

'Impossible' is a really good example of how pop music can still be fresh and pleasing. Fieu has a fine voice, and with such a well constructed song and soundtrack, it allows her to shine.


Hockey Dad - So Tired.

Background bio - Australian duo and Leisure Coast legends Hockey Dad are set to release their debut album Boronia on August 12th via Brooklyn indie label Kanine Records. Their story is simple: best mates first, band second, and their music flows from their surroundings: sunny and jangly guitar driven rock complete with anthemic choruses. Yet please do not mistake their laid back vibes for anything but tight execution and a drive to share their good times with the world.

Zach Stephenson (guitars/vocals) and Billy Fleming (drums) have been best friends since age 4. Living two doors down on Boronia Street in the small Australian coastal town of Windang, it was around 13 when they discovered Zach's Dad's old gear in his garage and about 15 when they started sneaking into local music venue RAD BAR and playing other bands' instruments while they were not around. By 18, they were touring Australia under the name Hockey Dad, which was gleaned from a Simpsons episode. The duo brings an incredible energy and youth to their warm and jangly guitar tones, telling tales of beaches and babes.

The past year has seen the duo move from aspiring garage band to Australian indie pop stars. After releasing their debut EP Dreamin' on local Aussie label Farmer and the Owl, Hockey Dad won Triple J's Unearthed Fall Festival Competition in 2014 gaining them national radio play and sold out shows across Australia. With headlining festival appearances in their hometown under their belt, in 2015 they headed stateside for CMJ where they met up with Brooklyn indie Kanine Records (Surfer Blood, Splashh, Beverly) and cemented a deal to release their debut album in the US.

Boronia is 11 tracks of pure unadulterated fun that comes straight out of the surf and skate culture surrounding them in their native Wollongong. "As a kid growing up, it was inevitable that we'd be picking up boards and hitting the waves, as we're only a couple minutes walk away from the beach. The video for 'I Need A Woman' serves as a dedication to our childhood, just hanging around the beach and having sick fun." But skating and surfing wasn't enough to fill up their days, Billy grew up on his older brother's stash of 90's punk, while Zach grew up with his dad's collection of Aussie Gold records. "It's funny because one minute we'll be throwing bones to Parkway Drive, and next thing we're sobbing to Aretha Franklin."

Their debut album Boronia is a testament of the good times that the boys have pouring out of them. And now they want to share those good times with the world.

'So Tired' has already received plenty of plays and no wonder, the duo's brand of indie pop is just so bright and smile inducing. They deliver an expansive sound, with uncomplicated themes and so much dynamic energy. They have seemingly captured sun and surf and converted it to music, last band to do that so naturally well may have been The Beach Boys!


Friday, 20 May 2016

Friday Four: Bin Juice - The Vacationists - John Jefferson - Corbu

Bin Juice - Astro Surf.

Background Info - We are delighted to share the news of Sydney 5 piece Bin Juice signing to Monday Records, and announcing the recording of their debut studio EP.

Bin Juice is just the right dose of Funk, Psych and a live set that leaves every punter talking for days. Their signature song-writing centres around their love of jamming, organically spurting out addictive melodies they then turn into songs.

Described as “a force to be reckoned with”, Bin Juice ticks all the right boxes, from clever lyrics to electrifying riffs. The boys have developed a seasoned reputation for high-energy performances and drawing a pumping crowd wherever they play.

Bin Juice has played alongside bands such as: Flowertruck, Winston Surfshirt, Capital Coast, Raindrop, Salvador Dali Llama, White Blanks, Powla, Bad Valley and Phantastic Ferniture.

'Astro Surf' has a eclectic mixture of sounds and just the right vocal styling to match the music. It's funky, different and rich in ideas and sound. The EP should be a fascinating listen.


 The Vacationists - It Could Be Much, Much Worse.

Background promo - Sydney band The Vacationists, return with their bouncy and shimmery indiepop single “It Could Be Much, Much Worse”, which will be launched on May 21st at Brighton Up Bar.

The Vacationists first made some noise on the local indie radio scene in late 2014 with infectious single “Smile, you’re in Kensington”. They specialise in energetic tunes with playful song structures as filtered through layers of hazy guitars and keyboards. They call Sydney’s inner west home, but their unique indie-pop sound hails from all over the world.

The band has in the past brought their loud and fun shows to Oxford Art Factory,  Annandale Hotel, Lazybones Lounge, FBi Social, Petersham Bowling Club, and many others. This new single sounds like something The Smiths and The Jesus and Mary Chain might have penned on a bender after an early 90s hiphop gig. The Vacationists release ‘It Could Be Much, Much Worse’ today Friday 20th May 2016.

Saturday 21st May 2016
Brighton Up Bar (single launch) Sydney NSW

The song 'It Could Be Much, Much Worse' is melodic, refreshing and delivered with quality musicianship and superb vocals. Upbeat and extremely catchy, the band deserves to be heard.


 John Jefferson - Fool's Paradise.

Background promo - John Jefferson is set to release his debut EP Helmsman, on the 24th of June 2016.

Jefferson wrote the tracks on a narrow-boat while travelling through the Hertfordshire countryside last summer. He then recorded the tracks on a ship called Lightship95 at the London docklands last Christmas. The nautical theme to the production of this EP inspired Jefferson to name it Helmsman.
Jefferson’s is a multi-instrumentalist with influences mostly American from the 60's/70's and artists such as: Townes Van Zandt, Bob Dylan, Blaze Foley and The Doors. Inspiration which can be seen perfectly on Helmsman.

The 5 track-EP, is an ethereal, bluesy, Americana infused affair. Most of the instrumentation on the EP is Jefferson’s bar the drums.   From one masterpiece to the next, Jefferson has managed to create a beautiful sound which will remind you of a Californian beach drive.

Jefferson will be playing the live circuit with his band over the summer including: 21/06 Victoria in Dalston.

There is something of a laid back Americana feel to 'Fool's Paradise' and the theme continues on the forthcoming EP. Well structured songs full of melodic hooks and in some cases a little more energised, as debut releases go, this one is notable and sets standards very high.


Corbu - Through Emptiness.

Background promo - Taken from their recently announced debut album Crayon Soul, the dream-like ‘Through Emptiness’ floats on its spaced-out synths carried by its blissful yet haunting melody.

Much of the debut album was inspired by the intense dreams front man Jonathan Graves has experienced since childhood. ‘Through Emptiness’ traverses the contrasting emotions during and after dreams; experiencing joy in an unknown place where anything is possible, yet knowing that the dream will end. Jonathan says: “Dreams can be beautiful and cruel at the same time. People you've lost flicker back into existence for a moment, and then they're gone again. There's a tremendous comfort in knowing those spaces exist, even if just in your mind, mixed with the sadness of being dropped into them randomly and then having them ripped away."

Crayon Soul is released on 5 August 2016 via 3 Beat (EU) & Big Picnic (US). Mixed by Dave Fridmann (The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, Mercury Rev),  the album was announced recently along with ‘Polygon Forest’, which received praise from the likes of Stereogum, DIY and Clash.

Crayon Soul follows two acclaimed EPs, We Are Sound and Everything You Imagine Is Real, which garnered praise from the likes of Nylon, Stereogum, The Guardian, NME and more, as well as capturing the attention of Jessie Ware, who personally requested the band to remix her song ‘You & I (Forever)’.

Deep synthy sounds introduce 'Through Emptiness'. It's a song that slowly gathers momentum as the melody establishes itself and dreamy vocals glide gently above a lush soundscape. It's both music and well crafted art, no wonder the amount of attention the band have already received.


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Synths & More: Papertwin - Exploded View - The Hood Internet x Wolkoff

Papertwin - The Pool.

Background promo - Vacation, the forthcoming EP from Papertwin via Druyan Records represents their third studio collaboration. Self recorded in their New York apartments and mixed by Abe Seiferth (yeasayer,DFA Studios), mastered by Heba Kadry (Neon Indian, Beach House) the EP continues the band's unique sense of synth-pop. Dreamy, dark, nostalgically sci-fi, Vacation features analog synthesizers, melodic guitar lines, driving percussion, and reflective vocals. Drawing on influences from The Cure to Gillian Welch, this EP builds upon the bands previous recordings.

Papertwin is comprised of Max Decker, who makes his own clothes and only writes in calligraphy, Francis Cardinale who used to play in an algebra themed noise band in Olympia, and Nick Shopa who tunes pianos and is a valet car parker. 'Vacation' out June 24 via Druyan Records

'The Pool' really does have that synthy, flowing, dream pop feel to it. Production is crisp enough so that each sound is clearly defined as they gently glide along together. Refreshing and relaxing, the vocals add their magic and we have a fine song.


Exploded View – Orlando.

Background promo - After recently signing to Sacred Bones Records, new four-piece Exploded View, fronted by German/Bristol political- journalist-turned-musician/singer Anika, announce news of their debut self-titled album, due August 17th. The band are sharing new track 'Orlando' from the forthcoming record. While lead single ‘No More Parties in The Attic’ is laden with an enticing no-wave, post-punk sound, layered with distorted guitars and ominous drones– ‘Orlando' chimes in with echoing vintage synths, courtesy of Hugo Quezada that clash with a chilly electro backbeat and an anthemic soulful bass line setting the tone.  With her disarming quietude nursery rhyme like vocal delivery, Anika remarks on the creation process: “Well, that day I was speechless and empty; a reflection of the times. I became a vessel for the past; the only way to deal with or help understand the present. Enlightenment came with the help of some strong leading ladies; A certain author, a certain film and a certain actress. Go figure.”

The four musicians discovered a new sound, several steps removed from the krautrock-isms of Henderson’s previous work during their rehearsals and live performances in Mexico City. The straight to tape sessions that followed in the San Rafael neighborhood, ventured somewhere new; a lighter place, unguarded, veering from any script.  Improvisation was the guiding principle and the source of the band’s inspiration. The studio itself was outfitted so that every sound produced in the room would be recorded. A Tascam 388 8-track captured everything – fully live, fully improvised, first-takes only. Produced by Thulin and Quezada and mastered by Josh Bonati in NYC. Exploded View (Jessy Bulbo / Nos llamamos) to form Hector Melgarejo(Robota) and Riotboy sweetheart Hugo Quezada (Crocodiles producer) synth-head Martin Thulin to critical acclaim in 2010. This new project was created during the rehearsal sessions for Anika's Mexican live debut back in March 2014.  An unexpected partnership formed between Annika and local producers, Stones Throw imprint and Geoff Barrow’s Invada released her self-titled debut album in collaboration with Anika.

'Orlando' is an electronic delight. Driven by a punchy drum beat, the sounds drift and seemingly spin around the rhythm. Vocals are wonderful and just so right for the material as Anika delivers them in a delicate and simplisitc manner. No surprise that we are featuring Exploded View again so soon, there is something about them that I just love.


The Hood Internet x Wolkoff - Me And Mine.

Background info - Me & Mine”, the second collaborative single from The Hood Internet and our ever-prolific art-pop heroine Wolkoff (and a free download, at that!). Wolkoff's seductive vocals soar over The Hood Internet's tropical production in the hook-laden single, which follows “Going Back”, their first single from early last summer that marked the beginning of their annual collaboration… let’s hope they keep up the tradition!

“Me & Mine” is the first new song from Wolkoff following the release of her critically-acclaimed debut full-length, Without Shame (Spotify) that came out last month. The album featured the stand-out tracks “The Homecoming”, “While You Still Can” and the gorgeous single “Kings Highway”. The album was inspired by symphonic 90's Euro-pop and deep house coupled with new wave motifs, and was created with a mind to build exhilarating, dance-worthy songs about real life.

'Me And Mine' is a bright and breezy song, that see's Wolkoff's vocals shine, above an excellent tropical flavoured soundtrack. A lovely song and a tonic for rainy summer day's.


The Scenics - In The Summer (New Album)

The Scenics - Wild Trout.

Background promo - In the summer of 1976 Andy Meyers, fresh out of high school, and Ken Badger, working at the local music store, met and started The Scenics. Inspired by raw underground rock and new sounds, they began writing songs that defined Their sound — chancy, risky, noisy, with big pop choruses and gear-stripping guitar and rhythmic bomp. Alien-eyed lyrics that took in the world from the other side of "normal.”

The Scenics were artistically amping up, and making recordings as a fiery young band. These songs were never released back in the day, but now they are collected on In The Summer. They played shows with Talking Heads, Simply Saucer, The Troggs, and dozens of other pivotal underground legends.

For six years, The Scenics engaged and enraged local audiences by not playing by the punk rules of the day. The band’s wild creativity made any Scenics performance an adventure. And now they’re back, in the flesh, hitting a few of North America’s most rocking cities. In The Summer is the release of overlooked gems that kick-started the blazing Scenics sound, and it is finally coming out in the States and elsewhere to remind deep music fans that the band is back and playing again live. 

The Scenics - In The Summer out from Light In The Attic Distribution , June 17, 2016.

The Scenics Summer 2016 Tour:
Wednesday, July 6 - Hamilton, Ontario @ This Ain't Hollywood
Thursday, July 7  - Toronto, Ontario @ Rivoli
Friday, July 8 - Buffalo, New York @ Mohawk Place
Saturday, July 9 - Cleveland, Ohio @ Beachland Tavern
Sunday, July 10  Columbus Ohio @ Ace of Cups
Monday, July 11  Chicago Illinois @ The Empty Bottle
Tuesday, July 12  Detroit, Michigan @ UFO Factory
September - Pittsburgh, Philly, NYC, Jersey, and Boston dates TBA

'The album 'In The Summer' is a must hear for any old punk & new wave fan. Like a vintage wine of quality, The Scenic's music has aged extremely well. Well I missed out on them first time around, so each of the twelve songs on the album are new to me, as I expect they will be for many. First impressions are a fresh adventurous sound, that definitely doesn't follow any rule book. For comparison there is the raw energy of early Television material, along with the creativity of Talking Heads, and all the mischief, of the late seventies, when everyone seemed to be picking up a guitar and starting a band. Featured song 'Wild Trout' is an indicator of what's on the album, those able to catch them live this summer are probably in for a real treat.


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Globetrotting: In Letter Form - Citizen of the World - Man Is Not A Bird

In Letter Form - Face In The Crowd.

Background promo - Drawing influence from the works of The (early) Cure, Joy Division, Bauhaus, New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, Interpol et al, they produce a sound that echoes the past, haunts the present and is constantly in the future.

Reflecting on past deeds; some well intentioned while others, not. The ways we had been wronged or the choice to see it that way because sometimes that's easier than the truth.

The prose and cons of having thin skin to protect a thick heart, put "in letter form" perhaps? A love letter? An anti love letter? Hate mail? A photograph? A song? An exclamation of the joy of life? A suicide note? The bay area based foursome considers their formation a fortunate turn of events, as they were all experiencing heartbreak on some level when they came together. In Letter Form draws influence from the works of Joy Division, Bauhaus, and Echo and the Bunnymen. The single, “Face In The Crowd,”  blends their post punk and synth pop sound, and is a good example of the vibe to expect on the rest of Fracture. Repair. Repeat.

'Face In The Crowd' certainly gives a very good feel for the eleven song album 'Fracture. Repair. Repeat'. Influences there are, I would add Sisters Of Mercy as another reference point, that aside this is one very cool album. Full of post punk sounds, that at times veer towards a darker Gothic feel, and sometimes a crisper early indie rock feel. Fans of any of the above mentioned bands really should check this album out.


Citizen of the World - Embers.

Background promo - Citizen of the World has built on the success of the foot stomping Folk-Rock genre, popularised by the likes of Mumford & Sons, to carve a new genre described by one competition judge as “Epic Folk”.

COTW are coming off the success of their last single, “Setting Out”, which reached audiences internationally, premiering their video through, and receiving international airplay through the syndicated radio show Passport Approved. The track also reached a huge new Australian audience with triple j play on Roots N All!

Their new song “Embers” is an ode to those warm summer nights spent around a fire, reflecting on life and enjoying being alive. “Embers” features strong melodic saxophone lines that sit on top of uplifting choruses that will make you want to get up, light a fire, and dance around it. In the verses, the saxophone makes room for subtle piano melodies that accompany the vocals. The steady beat pumping through the song combined with the powerful chorus plays right into the band’s Epic-Folk genre.

The song was recorded and mixed, as per tradition, in front man Gerrit’s living room in Coogee, Sydney (affectionately known as Bay Street Records). The video was shot mostly in rural New South Wales and features sweeping landscapes and a giant bonfire that will transport the listener for a few minutes away from their daily routine. COTW’s songs are mainly inspired by Mumford and Sons and Dave Matthews Band, and fit right into the modern folk-rock genre..

If this is Epic Folk, then I like epic folk. Whatever the specific genre this is one really good song. With a happy vibe, the vocals, choruses and excellent musicianship come together in a pleasing, uplifting song. More always welcome!


 Man Is Not A Bird - Life & Levity.

Background promo - Man Is Not A Bird, an innovative Paris-based quartet, are preparing to make landfall in the U.S. with their first international release, Life & Levity. The four track collection includes EP title track which Nothing But Hope & Passon claims, "post-rock lovers can expect epic and distinctive sounds that team up with hypnotic shoegaze elements." Expect five minutes of cinematic beauty that doesn’t need to hide from the genre’s big players like Explosions In The Sky.

The much-anticipated EP will officially be available via Splendid (in partnership with Believe Digital) on June 3, 2016. Preorder is available now.

Last summer, the fearless rockers undertook a 10-show tour of the United Kingdom, culminating with a triumphant performance in London that impressed a variety of industry insiders drawn to the band’s obvious international potential. From there, the band went straight back into the studio to write and record the tracks that have become Life & Levity. Previously instrumental, these new songs now find the band exploring complex vocal arrangements, while retaining their distinctive post-punk sound.

The band continues to tour internationally, recently road-testing Life & Levity with two trips around Germany and eastern Europe, as well as a 5 day run in Spain just last week. Last year also saw the release of Man Is Not a Bird’s critically acclaimed debut mini-album, Survived The Great Flood.  The album was prominently featured on MTV Pulse Europe and French channel D17, and has over 500,000 streams on Spotify France.

After a sold-out Parisian launch party for the album, the band was asked by British Rock Band, Ride, to open for them on certain dates during the European leg of their mega-reunion World Tour. The tour concluded with Man Is Not A Bird's first visit to the mythical Paris Olympia Music hall, playing in front of a capacity audience. Look out for remixes from French Touch supremo, Alex Gopher, Italian chaos monger SBCR from the Bloody Beetroots, Toog & Roman Kouder.

'Life & Levity' is a feisty and powerful number, with guitars and drums driving the song forward at breakneck speed. Vocals veer towards shoegaze in orientation and sit well in the mix, having their moment when the music occaisionally subsides.