Sunday, 30 August 2015

Sundays Alternative Take - New, Remixed and Refixed

Synkro - Midnight Sun.

Manchester producer Synkro is set to release his debut album Changes via R&S sister label Apollo Records on September 18th. Background - Having forged his career in the dubstep era, with nearly 40 releases to his name, Synkro AKA Joe McBride has always resisted easy classification - his music winds together such diverse influences as Boards Of Canada, dBridge, Burial and Oneohtrix Point Never, whilst still remaining utterly unique. His trademark warm sonics, and emotive melodies are ever-present on his forthcoming debut album 'Changes' - his much favoured vinyl samples being joined on this record by a new found love of analogue equipment, as he explains "I got addicted to vintage synths after a trip to Japan last year - I came back with a Juno-6 & SH-101 both of which play a big role in the album." 

His recent, lauded work with Indigo under the Akkord name set pulses racing with what Resident Adviser described as the duo's " fiercely technical take on dance music, one that you could dance to or simply admire in all its steel-plated glory". Fittingly, Changes acts as a soothing balm after the intense workouts that Akkord music incites - from the lush pads and rolling arpeggio pulse of the intro, to the understated dubstep meets ambient/balearic glory of the title track to the more muscular 'Let Me go' - awash with cavernous, soulful vocals and melancholic strings, to the epic, hymn like D&B ballad 'Body Close' featuring the dulcet vocals of Lyves, Synkro once again proves his effortless ability to create cinematic textures and surreal sonic vistas in long form.

Joe McBride readily admits his interest in electronic music 'past masters' so not surprisingly there is maturity to this music. The featured track is both sophisticated and an aural delight, a good taster for the album.


Keep Shelly in Athens - Now I'm Ready (featuring Ocean Hope).

Background - Born in the midst of a creative surge in the pop-leaning underground, Greek act Keep Shelly In Athens have been a force in the indie world for the last half decade, releasing projects on Cascine, Gorilla vs. Bear label arm Forest Family and British heavyweight Planet Mu. Now, the Athens-based duo arrive on Los Angeles outlet Friends of Friends with the Now I'm Ready LP, their second official LP and their most emotionally mature, sonically adventurous effort to date.

At eight songs and 45 minutes, the album strikes a concise, yet imposing figure, each individual effort comprised of enough peaks and valleys to bring the listener to the edge and back again. Lifted off by lead single "Fractals", Now I'm Ready is not your typical indie effort, un-beholden to tempo and style, the album skips across genre tropes with ease,  each track guided by producer RΠЯ's singular aesthetic and vocalist Myrtha's unmistakable crescendos.

And whether you're locked into a long road trip, careening around a city or looking over the Mediterranean, Keep Shelly In Athens bring an arresting pathos to the proceedings, felt everywhere from the break beat-led madness of "Hollow Man" to the ever-building, hypnotic vocal qualities of "Now I'm Ready". It's only the duo's second official LP, but considering their release history on outlets as diverse as Cascine, Forest Family and Planet Mu, it's no surprise that their arrival on Friends of Friends is such an unabated success.

The featured song can have, with honour, Beehive Candy's vary rarely awarded 'Almost As Good as the Cocteau Twins Medal'. Seriously there are some echoes of the Cocteau's on this track, which is absolutely fine as this is an excellent production!


Major Lazer ft. MØ - Lean On (Tribe Society Refix).

Regarding Tribe Society we are told - Taking on one of their personal favourites, the band have reworked Major Lazer's electronic smash hit, "Lean On," for a refreshing alternative rock spin. Transforming it with new vocal stylings and a spiced up instrumental arrangement, "Lean On" takes on new life thanks to Tribe, and stands as a unique re imagination of the chart topping hit. 

We featured Tribe Society back in July in another 'Sundays Alternative Take' however this 'refix' of 'Lean On' with guitars, flutes, and a new vocal top line, is fascinating, fun and just deserves a share.


Touch Sensitive - Pizza Guy (Fantastic Man Remix).

Background - Multi-instrumentalist, self confessed synth-freak and italo-style icon, Michael Di Francesco is Touch Sensitive. Having originally released his notorious single 'Pizza Guy' in his local Australia in 2013 to incredible success (it was the number 3 most played track that year on the country's No. 1 radio station, Triple J and featured a star-studded video with cameos from label mates Flume, Chet Faker and Jagwar Ma), the UK will finally see a release on 9th October through Future Classic.

The single, which will be packaged as a AA-side release alongside 'Show Me' and includes brand new remixes from Melbourne slow-mo disco connoisseur Fantastic Man (the moniker of Mic Newman) and legendary French DJ/producer i:cube.

Already getting considerable attention this new Fantastic Man remix does the original justice. Thoughtful and imaginative and just so listenable.


World's End Press - Tall Stories.

Background - ‘Tall Stories’ is the brand new single from Melbourne band, World’s End Press. The delectable, soon-to-be dancefloor favourite offers the first peek at the band’s forthcoming EP release of the same name.  It sees World’s End Press carry on from the forward momentum of previous single ‘Spirals (Slide Away)’ which burst from the airwaves all summer long, received a plethora of online love, and saw the band edging into a sweatier, grittier, clubbier realm.

Tall Stories the EP, which was self-produced and mixed by Bruno Ellingham (The Maccabees, Delphic, Goldfrapp) and is due for release on September 25th can best be described as the result of a misspent summer; one spent in lock down in an insulated, bunker-style studio with the PA turned to the max and the lights dimmed. The EP takes its name from the glittering high-rise windows that the band would gaze at on their late night walks home from the studio, and touches on themes of distorted communication, self-deceit, enigma and unconditional love.

World’s End Press recorded their self-titled debut album at Massive Attack Studios in Bristol and released it in 2013 to widespread critical acclaim. The last few years have seen the band touring both nationally and internationally, supporting Primal Scream on their Screamadelica tour, Cut Copy on a North American Tour and Phoenix on their last Australian Tour. Their visceral live sets for Let Them Eat Cake, Meredith, Golden Plains and Falls have left audiences feeling dazed and happy.

Feel good and full of brightness this is just 'good old down to earth', great dance and pop music. Sometimes that is really all that's required.


Axwell /\ Ingrosso - Sun Is Shining (Marcus Schossow & Years Remix).

You possibly know this - Axwell & Ingrosso's summer smash "Sun Is Shining" has grown to be one of their biggest songs to date. It has earned over 50 million streams on Spotify and over 10 million views on the official video, as well as #1 on iTunes in 9 countries, securing its title as one of the biggest dance songs of the year. The official remix package has just been released (28th August) on Def Jam featuring new mixes from W&W, R3hab, Marcus Schössow & Years, and M-22.

Popular song and my favourite of the remixes, simple as that really.


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Saturday Specials: The Mantles - Limbo Sanctuary - Clara Lofaro

The Mantles - Doorframe.

Everything you could possibly need to know - Bay Area garage-pop band The Mantles announce their latest musical offering, 'All Odds End.' The new album will be released via Slumberland Records on October 16.

What makes the Mantles the Mantles? Maybe it's the idiosyncratic motion and energy of Michael Olivares' vocals, the way they alternately stroll and hop assuredly over the music. Or maybe it's the band's sound itself, familiar and classic yet increasingly distinctive, and growing-with acoustic texture; keyboard hooks and licks; and resonant and representative drumbeats-to its deepest, warmest, fullest, and most colorful on their third album, All Odds End (out October 16th on Slumberland Records), a record that is quintessentially Mantles from the sheer sonic splendour and elation-and biting words-of the album-opening "Island" on through to the final harmony of "Stay."

The album exits with "Stay," so you can loop right back and listen to it all over again, and live for a bit within songs that capture those heightened moments when you (and Olivares' lyrical portraiture often favours a perceptive "you" over a needy. greedy "I") are at the threshold of change. It's right there in the snapshot-vivid lyrics of "Doorframe": "Ooh nothing like standing in a doorframe all day." While it's tempting to see these transitional vignettes-marked by characters who are simultaneously coming and going-as reflective of day-to-day tumult in contemporary Bay Area, Olivares brushes off the idea: "We would have written the same songs even if we weren't here." 

Still, the theme even extends to the making of All Odds End. The band reunited with Jason Quever, song-smith of Papercuts, and master of vintage audio production who recorded The Mantles' much loved early single, "Don't Lie".  Quever had all his boxes packed for a move to L.A. while recording and mixing the album, with his equipment his only belongings out of storage. The situation meant an already attentive, sound-romancing producer had an even more heightened focus on the song's ingredients, and appreciation of how they form a greater whole. It spills right off of the layered "Island," which grows as it goes along, motored and punctuated by the playfully assured interplay between Olivares's vocals and Virginia Weatherby's steadily propulsive, detailed (yes, that is a Vibraslap) drumming. It's apparent in the stark, bracing "Lately," where acoustic guitar has the sharp-to-blind beauty of morning sunlight.

For this album Olivares, Weatherby, and lead guitarist Justin Loney were joined by Matt Bullimore on bass, a New Zealand native and member of Oakland's Legs, and Carly Putnam on keyboard. These two new members energise the band into exploring territory that ranges from the staccato bursts and messy wisdom of "Police My Love" (which draws from a crazy variety of lyrical inspirations), to the country lilt of "Undelivered," to the casually anthemic SF-to-LA tilt of "Best Sides."People move, bands fall apart, cities change, but the Mantles abide and grow stronger, embodying their many-faceted name-planetary core-deep; incandescent; enveloping-a bit more with each new day, year, song and album. The Mantles are more and more the Mantles, and listening with dedication is like getting gifts. All Odds End, but the group continues to bloom.

Warm sounding with every instrument blending to provide a breezy pleasant 'late summer' sound. Add Michael Olivares voice and the whole song is a real special treat.


Limbo Sanctuary - Lost.

Background - Hailing from New South Wales’ Southern Highlands, Limbo Sanctuary is a three piece Indie band. The band formed after classmates, Nina Therese and Austin Harris met up with Sydney based musician James Phipps in late 2013. The wide range of musical influences amongst the three musicians provides a blend of modern indie tones with a classic folk rock platform. 

With comparisons drawn to musicians as varied as Sarah Blasko, PJ Harvey, Bon Iver and Of Monsters and Men, it’s no surprise that Limbo Sanctuary have attracted a crowd everywhere they’ve been. After some notable gigs in 2014 at venues like Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory, Metro and Factory Theatre, the band has recently spent some time honing their sound, writing and recording and are set for a big end to 2015. 

“At the time that I wrote ‘Lost’, I was listening to a lot of vocal melody based music like Crowded House, You Am I and The Cure. I wrote the song as a nod to what it is like to deal depression and anxiety, and that feeling that you can never get back to something that you enjoy. Once the framework of the song was built, the whole band came together to put their individual touches into the song and what came out of it was something that we all contributed to and something that we are all proud of.” - James from Limbo Sanctuary. .“Lost” will be released 18th of September 2015.

A beautiful song that has just about everything going for it. Enchanting vocals and as mentioned above an indie come folk rock feel, that just charms me through and through.


Clara Lofaro - Other Side.

Background - Toronto born, Brooklyn based, Clara Lofaro, began singing in a local community church. Realising her abilities for harmonies and composing at an early age, Clara continued to study and perform music throughout her formative and high school years before accepting a scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Clara Lofaro is a singer/songwriter who performs throughout the world with her band and as a Solo Artist. She is well sought after by her contemporaries to collaborate on their respective projects and her song catalogue has provided television, film and commercials with over 50 song placements spanning many musical formats. When Vanity Fair Napkins was searching for a theme song for their “Wipe On A Smile” National Commercial Campaign, they chose Lofaro's single "Just Smile" (from her Self Titled LP).

Clara Lofaro’s current EP release Other Side (Sept 2015) follows her 2014 “Air Lift Me” EP release, which includes the Billboard Club Hit "Born To Love You”. Lofaro has performed alongside Stevie Nicks, Edwin McCain, Kimberly Locke, and Jeffrey Gaines and was the featured vocalist in the Disney Super Bowl commercial "When You Wish Upon a Star" featuring MVP players of the NFL team.

Clara Lofaro is the winner of 6 Toronto Music Awards and has had numerous nominations in both the U.S. and Canada. She has also been awarded first place, triumphing over 300 bands during Toronto's Indie week, a competition to find the city's best unsigned talent.

The opening piano bars reminded me of Regina Spektor, see that as a positive. Then everything changes and a country rock feel with Clara's distinctive vocals and bags of energy happens. Mainstream sounding, with that certain 'extra' that makes it stand out in a crowd.


Friday, 28 August 2015

Fridays Three: Street Chant - Betty Moon - Alpha Rev

Street Chant - Pedestrian Support League.

Some words from the band - Emily Littler from Street Chant: "Pedestrian Support League is a song loosely about Auckland life. Coming back from being on tour a lot and moving back into a crummy flat in Grey Lynn I felt an extreme sense of ennui amongst my peers and especially in myself. A few years ago I had felt excitement for the future and now I was paranoid my flatmates were stealing all my margerine. The chorus “enrol to vote and so it goes, everyone dresses like us nowadays..” expresses the amusement and dissatisfaction I felt with my surroundings - amusement because I felt like I was living out some “food for flatties” cookbook cliche, but watching National win another election as well my seemingly endless ability to stagnate bought about an extreme sense of apathy.

The new album Hauora will be released in November 2015 on Arch Hill/Flying Nun.

Kicks off with a nice funky bass line and then a fine Indie tune ensues. Pleasing, accessible and bodes well for the forthcoming album.


Betty Moon - No Good.

The story so far - Toronto-born songstress Betty Moon began her career as an artist signed to A&M Records in 1990 and released her first LP just a year later. Moon followed up her debut with five critically lauded records that have led to four CASBY Awards nominations including Best Album of the Year, Best Single of the Year, Best Video of the Year, and Best Artist of the Year. Moon has amassed legions of devoted fans by crafting edgy modern rock music in the vein of Portishead, Massive Attack, and Florence and the Machine. She captivates listeners with a powerful, sultry vocal that evokes female legends such as rockers Chrissie Hynde and Grace Slick, and iconic soulstress Sade. Moon released three records after her self-titled debut, including Doll Machine on EMI Music, STIR, and Demon Flowers. 

A former teen model and dancer, Betty Moon took the Toronto music scene by storm upon her arrival. She sold over 10,000 DIY records within a few short months, all while still in school. The buzz caught the attention of A&M/Universal, who quickly signed Betty to a deal and crowned her as Canada's resident Lady of Rock. 

In 2013, she was a featured performer at the world famous Sunset Strip Music Festival alongside Marilyn Manson, Quiet Riot, Black Label Society, and The Offspring. Her last album, “Amourphous,” was released in 2014 and features the first single, “Valentine,” mixed by Grammy Award-winner Chris Lord-Alge. Moon’s music has been featured in a variety of film and television spots including Californication, Dexter, Bounty Hunters, Walking the Dead, and Last Gasp. With a catalog of music now available on iTunes and Pandora Radio, Betty Moon is continuing to play shows in support of her new album. Now residing in sunny Los Angeles, Betty is ready to bring her unique brand of music to the masses on a global scale.

As you can see, this is a Depeche Mode cover. Betty puts her own touch on the song, the music is a respectful nod to the original feel, her vocals lighten the load and make this a pleasing listen. The album has so much more to offer, so if this song gets your attention, your on to a winner.


Alpha Rev - Names.

Background - Alpha Rev, the infectious alt-pop band from Austin, Texas, isn’t just making an impact musically.  They’re also making an impact socially. The band released their latest single, “Names,” less than a month ago and for the next six months, 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.

Additionally, Alpha Rev just completed a successful must-see summer tour that began in Austin, criss-crossed the country and culminated in Dallas.  The tour, called Music Builds, is an exploration of the ongoing poverty crisis, and what Habitat for Humanity is doing to fight it.  The band is working closely with the organization to inform and inspire Americans to take action in the fight against poverty.  Alpha Rev’s Casey McPherson filmed his time volunteering for Habitat, and is using the footage to create both a music video and a PSA to bring in new donors. You can learn more about the campaign at PledgeMusic.

“Names is all about being able to change,” explains McPherson. “We’re all born with a name, born into an environment that we had no say in creating. For most of us, we see our situations as the way things must always be, but we forget that we are in charge of the life before us, and we can be given a new name, so to speak, if we choose. For those of us born into poverty, abuse, chaos, or whatever the negative attribute may be, we don’t have to stay there! This is what Habitat for Humanity is doing, and they have inspired this song.”

“Names” was recorded at Pierre de Reeder’s (Rilo Kiley) studio with input from several notable musicians including: Jason Faulkner (Beck/Jellyfish) on guitar, Roger Manning Jr. (Jellyfish/Beck) on keyboard and Kiefo Nilsson on bass. Steve Hardy (Pink, Alicia Keys) provided mixing, and Andy Vandette (Uncle Kracker, Dear Hunter) punctuated the song with superb mastering.

Fronted by Casey McPherson, formerly of Endochine, Alpha Rev released their debut album, The Greatest Thing I’ve Ever Learned, in March of 2007.  McPherson’s honey-laden vocals, along with with Zack Loy’s impressive guitar work and Tabber Millard’s memorable drumming, helped gain the band significant buzz and a spot as the #1 indie band from Texas on the charts.

A lively music track backs Casy McPherson's notable and enticing vocals. This is a great song which has so many fine hooks, one that will be on repeat for me this weekend.


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Thursdays Australian Double Play

Dubarray - Serendipity.

Background words provided - Fresh off the back of a finalist nomination in the Q-music awards, Sunshine Coast’s Dubarray have revealed their new single 'Serendipity' to keep them on the road this Spring/Summer. Taken from their sophomore album 'Visions Collide’, 'Serendipity' boasts the band’s signature drum and bass sound that combines worldly textures and progressive flow with smooth vocal hooks.

Dubarray are a unique story of an Australian act who kicked off their journey in Europe four years ago, building solid foundations within many countries thanks to a hectic live schedule. During that time the band have released two albums, returned to tour Europe four times, have hit the Australian road for three national tours and have been nominated for various Music Oz and Queensland Music awards. Radio buzz so far has come from community and college stations in Australia, UK, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Bali. 

While Dubarray have plans to return overseas soon, all of the live action is currently happening in Oz with launch shows for ‘Serendipity’ and festivals booked for the rest of 2015. The new single version of 'Serendipity' is out now via all good digital retailers.

Upcoming Shows:

September 4 - Miami Marketta - Gold Coast
September 5 - Sheoak Shack - Fingal Head
September 11 - Solbar - Maroochydore
September 13 - Peregian Originals - Peregian Beach
October 2 - Caloundra Music Festival - Sunshine Coast
October 3 - Faraway Festival - Stanthorpe
October 16 - Wanderlust Festival - Coolum
October 31 - Conscious Life Festival - Kawana
November 13 - Motor Room - Brisbane
November 14- Paradise One - Mullumbimby
December 12 - Settlers Tavern - Margaret River
December 13 - Caves House - Dunsborough

Pleasantly different 'Serendipity' has so many good things going on, both simultaneously and in harmony. One of those tracks where asking you to listen is a whole lot easier than describing things, and in my opinion worth your while.


Mabel - Rachel.

Background words provided - Mabel are a 50’s & 60’s inspired indie rock band from Sydney, Australia.  With influences ranging from The Beach Boys & Roy Orbison to The Black Keys & Stones, their jangly, psychedelic, upbeat mix is the perfect marriage of pop melodies & dirty rock sounds leaving nothing but toes-a-tapping, mouths-a-humming & hips-a-shaking. 

Individually the band have toured with Aussie greats INXS, performed at Bluesfest (Aus) & Wickerman (UK) & had tunes synced on The Vampire Diaries (TV) & Step It Up 2 (Film). Having cut their teeth in numerous bands worldwide, Mabel have honed their ability to speak directly to an audience, bringing unparalleled energy, raw excitement & extreme bouts of great times to both their recorded music & live shows.
Mabel’s debut 'Rachel' to be released 14th of September 2015 on iTunes, Bandcamp, Pandora and other services worldwide. The band are - Michael Votano - Vocals, Daniel Romeo - Guitar, Alvin Ash -  Bass, Jeff Doukakis - Drums.

'Rachel' has an edgy blend of indie rock and punk energy that demands you move. It spans the decades and only the audio quality gives away how new the song is.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Wednesdays Genre Mash

American Pinup - Committed.

Background - Fronted by Lauren West, who combines sultry crooning with a raspy rock and roll growl, American Pinup draw from influences from across the spectrum of alternative music. The result is a blend of pop-savvy melody and punk rock attitude. The band is rounded out by Rob Peralta – guitar, Tim Robbins – bass and John Casale – drums.

Following two full-length albums and two EPs, multiple national tours, and countless appearances at festivals such as Vans Warped Tour, The Fest, and SXSW, American Pinup have carved out their own niche. A tireless, DIY work ethic has propelled the quartet from obscurity to a coveted spot on the Alternative Press list of “100 Bands You Need To Know” in 2014: They’re about to release a new collection of songs, “The Radio EP”—4 tracks that take the NY based indie rock quartet’s savvy power pop/punk sound to a new level.

A little rock swagger as punk meets pop, American Pinup just get on with playing their way, the results are fine with me.


Saux x The Septembers - Work.

Background - Australian duo The Septembers and Amsterdam based producer Saux team up to produce woozy single Work, the product of a spontaneous jam session on a rainy day in Amsterdam. With a prominent beat, the multi-layered, warm soulful vocals weave in and out of the sparse instrumentation, lamenting a spiral towards a broken relationship, and the pain of love lost.

Saux has released a consistent stream of sultry, soulful remixes and originals, and this track is no exception. Recently having released a single featuring Jefferey James, stayed tuned for Saux's upcoming EP.

The Septembers: The Septembers are a uniquely soulful duo from Australia. Having just relocated to Berlin, the duo have been honing their sound, and creating music with both local Australian, and international acts. Having been 9 months since last hearing from the pair, they are finally ready to give a taste of some new music. The Septembers are produced by James Chatburn, who has had a slew of impressive releases over the past year.

Saux: Fully devoted to soulful sounds and sultry voices, producer Saux has a flair for swift transitions from warm electronic music to underground pop to tropical melodies. He combines soulful sounds with electronic precision and warmth, and has received recognition from BBC, Majestic Casual, FACT Mag and more.

Calming and quite majestic, sometimes 'less is more' or 'keeping it simple' can create a musical gem, this being a case in point.


Oak Tree Suite - Lo Ammi.

Background - Oak Tree Suite admit that even they are surprised about the continuous string of achievements and opportunities this last couple of years have bought with them; but the 2014 J Music Award finalists are continuing to cause a stir both on the western coast and abroad. 

Two EP’s down, the band that has supported Evermore (2013), RAN (Indonesian Pop Artists, 2011), and written an Original Sound Track for indie film The Right One are busy working on their latest single, ‘Lo Ammi’, due to be released on the 18th of September. Produced and tracked live by James Newhouse at Real2Reel Studios, ‘Lo Ammi’ is the first track that, according to front man Matt Garrod, not only captures Oak Tree Suite’s live sound and energy but also pushes the band to new limits. 

Matt explained that, “‘Lo Ammi’ was born from the desire of wanting more and a lack of contentment with the present. The idea that not having the latest thing, or a nice house is a bad thing seems to be something of an illusion. Sometimes those that appear to go without are actually the most content and kind hearted people we know.” 

A soft beginning that builds into one fine song, both vocals and guitars work in harmony over a tight developing rhythm. Put simply 'it works'.


Kayah Duen - Stay Alright.

Background: Kayah Duen is a 5 piece indie pop/rock band from Sydney. With a wide range of influences including Josh Pyke, Death Cab for Cutie and Bombay Bicycle Club, Kayah Duen create a satisfying blend of upbeat acoustic guitar, catchy hooks and funk filled bass lines. 

Starting out in high school, the band was originally a 4 piece with Jamie on vocals and guitar, Seen on lead guitar, Jesse on bass and Pete on the drums. The quintet was complete in 2014 when Nat filled the Nat-shaped hole in the band. Her delicate voice, keyboard and tambourine skills have undoubtedly added a new dimension. Comprising of your typical mix of Aussie, Chinese, Dutch and Scottish blood, the band have bonded over their mutual love and respect for cheap Thai food. 

The past year has been a busy yet exciting time for the group. They have gained immense performance experience in 2014 playing at Manning Bar, Hermann’s Bar and at Sydney Uni’s annual Verge Festival. The band were also guests on the Sydney Uni’s radio station SURG FM. This year has seen Kayah Duen work on their debut single ‘Stay Alright’ with renowned Sydney producer, Michael McGlynn, who has worked on the exciting projects of Little May and L- Fresh The Lion. 

‘Stay Alright’ was recorded, mixed and produced by Michael McGlynn at Vienna People Studios, Annandale NSW.

Light and breezy indie pop with a touch of rock. I am loving the whole thing from the brief harmonies that add so much, through to the whole band playing with such sparkle.


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Tuesdays Double Play - A Little Indie Pleasure

Literature - The English Softhearts.

Philadelphia indie-pop outfit Literature just undertook a short tour with Baltimore's Expert Alterations. The two groups will be releasing a split 7" together on Square Of Opposition Records.

And part of their Bio - Philadelphia, PA's Literature features Kevin Attics, Nathaniel Cardaci, Chris Schackerman, and Seth Whaland. Attics, who'd written for numerous music trades as a teen, met Cardaci and Whaland at the house venue they both operated in Austin, TX. Cardaci and Whaland each ran small imprint labels and, a million adventures later, the trio decided to form a band. Upon moving to Philadelphia the group befriended Schackerman who also joined the fold.

Autumn of 2013 saw the band begin work on their second album, Chorus, with lauded engineer Gary Olson (whose body of work includes records by Crystal Stilts, Mad Scene and The Beets) at his Marlborough Farms studio in Brooklyn, NY. As a beautiful autumn turned into one of the harshest winters in recent memory, Olson and the band began stretching out, enhancing the album with studio techniques dating back to the late 60s including true-tape flanging, sending vocals through Leslie speaker cabinets, and the same analog style of automatic double-tracking created at Abbey Road Studios. The result is an album that is as immediate as it is timeless, full of effortlessly catchy and well-crafted tunes that echo pop legends like Smiths and Orange Juice. All of that time in the studio has resulted in a rich, considered sound that puts the band's arranging and playing front and centre. Chorus is one of the most exciting pop records in years, and marks Literature at true contenders.

OK so not the new track but one from last years 'Chorus'. It's upbeat, cheery, and a healthy reminder that it's not to late to discover this fine album. You can also check out the new video for 'The Girl, The Gold Watch And Everything' over on our BeeVids page.


Silverbird - Lyfe (from the album Pureland).

Background - Pureland is Silverbird's debut album and is released on September 18th 2015.

Songwriter Tim Barr founded Silverbird after spending several years on New York's vibrant music scene playing gigs as part of Lana Del Rey’s band, opening for The Blow, and studying and playing with Dizzy Gillespie’s pianist protegee Mike Longo.

Barr and English producer Kristopher Harris recorded Silverbird’s debut EP 'Surface Life', released in May 2014 to critical acclaim. Joined by Corey Davis on bass, Dan Whaley on lead guitar and Jacob Schuab on drums, Silverbird were soon selling out venues across NYC. With influences as diverse as Wilco, Heartless Bastards, and Sparklehorse, their music strides fearlessly through an ever changing emotional landscape. Infectious melodies and swirling, intricate rhythms combine to provide an absolutely enchanting soundscape.

2015 has already been incredibly busy for the band. The year started with two packed shows at the Brooklyn Night Bazaar and Black Bear, with many more shows and a tour to come. The track 'With the Spirits' from Surface Life was selected for the All Saints spring playlist and the song will be played in their 110 worldwide stores for three months. Tim is also featured on the packaging for Cakewalk’s Sonar Artist production software.

Lively and thoughtful indie rock, the featured track combines their softer side along with a more energetic start and finish, a good taste of a fine album.


Monday, 24 August 2015

The Apples In Stereo - 40 Watt Club, 2006 (Internet Archive)

From the Internet Archive this is The Apples In Stereo Live at 40 Watt Club, Athens, GA, USA on the 12th August 2006. Legend holds that the legendary 40 Watt Club, was so named because in the early days the venue was lit by precisely one 40-watt light bulb. That’s not quite true, but it’s a good story, and in rock and roll mythology, the truth is always trumped by a good story.

Made famous by the booming Athens indie scene of the 1980s, the 40 Watt Club wasn’t initially a commercial enterprise at all. Like so many things in Athens during that era, the venue was a DIY endeavor from the get-go – a small rehearsal space and unofficial party spot operated by local scenester Curtis Crowe. The small studio was, at one point, lit by a single light bulb. But by the time it became a regular venue for Athens bands, the electrical situation had improved.

The Apples in Stereo are an American psychedelic pop and indie rock band associated with Elephant Six Collective, a group of bands also including Neutral Milk Hotel and The Olivia Tremor Control. The band is largely a product of lead vocalist/guitarist/producer Robert Schneider, who writes the majority of the band's music and lyrics. The band's sound draws strong comparisons to the psychedelic rock of The Beatles and The Beach Boys during the 1960s, as well as to bands such as Electric Light Orchestra and Pavement, and also draws from lo-fi, garage rock, new wave, R&B, power pop, punk, electro-pop and experimental music.

In August 2006, longtime drummer Hilarie Sidney officially announced her departure from the band during the band's closing set at the Athens Popfest music festival in Athens, Georgia. Her replacement, John Dufilho, lead singer and principal songwriter of The Deathray Davies, was announced in October 2006. 2006 touring member Bill Doss of The Olivia Tremor Control also quietly joined the band "officially" as its new keyboardist. John Ferguson of Big Fresh and Ulysses joined the Apples in 2007, also playing keyboards, and wearing a Doctor Who-esque space suit on stage.

Recording Technical Details: Soundboard> Nomad Jukebox 3]+[Neumann KM-184(DIN)> Lunatec V2> Nomad Jukebox 3. Lineage HDD> ProTools(Elastic Audio)> Reaper/Wavelab (*Mix/DSP)> CDWave

Sound Quality: Very good soundboard, well mixed and balanced.

Set List:

01) Skyway
02) Do You Understand?
03) The Rainbow
04) Open Eyes
05) Go
06) Rainfall
07) Hypnotic Suggestion
08) Stream Running Over
09) Can You Feel It?
10) Play Tough
11) Please
12) Ruby
13) Strawberryfire

Website: Facebook - Here.

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

Stream Below:

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sundays Alternative Take - Less Is More

Nick Artic - Melodia.

A little of his Bio - After years of exploring the house scene as part of the crowd, the swift transformation from music junkie into a professional player in the game of electronic dance music seemed imminent for Dutch DJ and producer Nick Schoonheim. With the night lights luring, the DJ decks calling and the urge to create his own sounds growing rapidly, he adapted the Nick Artic moniker and set out on a mission. This rookie is more than ready to storm the world and conquer it bit by bit – one beat at a time.

If tropical house is intended to transport us to some far away sun drenched Caribbean Island, then the tune 'Melodia' has cracked it. What's more it's available as a free download!


COMMAND Q - Dolphin.

Background - COMMAND Q aren't your typical dance duo and they're definitely not making typical dance music. The two musicians currently teach classical percussion in Western Australia, but when the school day is over the guys return to their studio to produce electronic music that they describe as "a listening journey into an eclectic sound scape of worldly percussion, heavy bass, wild animals, and strange choons." Listen to their latest single, "Dolphin", released 17th August on Skrillex's free-release imprint, NEST, and you'll understand exactly what they meanActual dolphin calls and splashing water samples are used throughout the track (NOTE: No dolphins were harmed in the making).

Unique, intriguing, exciting and awash with variety of changes, not to mention a barrage of effects. Definitely not your typical dance duo.


Landside - Landside Pt I.

Background - Landside is the first collaboration between Italian producers Hunter/Game and Icelandic duo Kúra. Kúra’s electronic dub work and Hunter/Game’s techno and house roots form deep, melancholic ambient music with an intense central groove, as Fanney Osk’s vocals interweave with melodic synths. Landside Part 1 is a visionary journey into ranges of uncharted soundscapes, merging abstract atmosphere with boundless emotion. Max Cooper’s remix of “Still There” is an eclectic vision of a deep flow, with vocals floating over a strong, dark baseline. Benjamin Damage’s remix of “Silence Before the Storm” is a straight techno tool, digging groove lines into ambient melodies and mellow vocals.

Contrasting styles and backgrounds combine to provide some atmospheric and very cool tracks. Fanney Osk's vocals provide the final part of these enjoyable works.


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Your Weekend Listening Upgrade

Winters End - Mayfair.

Their Bio informs us of the following - Comprised of siblings Marissa and Christopher Pinto Winters End are a Sydney-based indie, electronic band. Formed in October 2011their follow-up release to their debut EP Staircase (2012) was their single Walls. 

Released in July 2014 Walls received plays extensively by community radio stations Australia wide, and also received airplay on FBi radio and Triple M in Sydney. Walls continues to be played internationally in the UK, Netherlands, USA and Canada. Walls' success also saw Winters End invited to perform at two international music festivals in Canada and LA in October and November 2014.

Winters End are back and ready for 2015. Their 80s-inspired electronic sounds encompass all tastes and all ages. Make sure you seize your chance to see this dynamic sibling-duo while they're back home in Sydney! They are undertaking a national tour between September and December. 

This is a powerful and stirring song. Others have likened Winters End to Florence and The Machine, MS MR, and The XX, a reasonable enough viewpoint, however I reckon this song stands on it's own strength, one that deserves much wider attention.


Fleurie - Sparks.

Part of Fleurie's Bio reads - "Fleurie." The name is French. The singer is American. And the music — a dreamy, cinematic pop sound that sweeps, swoons, and soars — creates its own geography.

On her new EP, Arrows, Fleurie balances herself between two different worlds: one, an organic place where pianos twinkle and vocals flutter; the other, a digital place where electronic drums, synthesisers and computer programming meet. It's a sound that's simultaneously human and electronic, simple and orchestral, poppy and artsy. Tying everything is Fleurie's voice, the production of Matt Stanfield (session player for Kelly Clarkson, Plumb and Jars of Clay) and the mixing work of Dave Schiffman (Haim, Charli XCX, Brandon Flowers), who teamed up to frame Fleurie's voice in layers of digital beats and synth pads.

When it came time to record Arrows, Fleurie was happy to dismantle her songs — many of which she'd written during her stay in Sydney, Australia — and piece them back together again. Time signatures were changed. Pianos were swapped out for synthesisers. Arrangements worthy of the coffeehouse were replaced by production geared toward the arena. The goal was to highlight her melodies while still pushing the envelope. Working with Stanfield and session musicians like drummer Fred Eltringham (the Wallflowers, Dixie Chicks), she created an EP that tackles everyday concerns — the struggle to make a difference in life, the need to be loved, the pang of pain — in otherworldly ways. "Hope, Where Have You Gone" makes occasional use of a Vocoder, mixing Fleurie's natural voice with a digitally-doctored counterpart, while "Fire in my Bones" rides a groove partially made by banging pots and pans.

'Sparks' is the second track from Fleurie's upcoming EP, Arrows, which will be independently released on September 4th. She has gentle silken vocals that really do 'glide' quite beautifully over a feature rich soundtrack. Well that's my take of this really catchy song.


Gracie and Rachel - Tiptoe.

Background - Brooklyn-based duo, Gracie and Rachel are thrilled to announce that they will be supporting much-loved Dangerbird Records artist, Holly Miranda on her upcoming tour of these United States.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after a successful one-off run for Gracie (Coates, who plays the piano and sings) and Rachel (Ruggles, who plays the violin) that included an opening slot with fave Colin Stetson in Chicago, a jaunt down to Rock Island, IL for a Daytrotter session (posting August 24th), and a homecoming headliner at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall.

The duo also played a packed out show at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco returning to their Bay Area roots (G and R hail from Berkeley), and airplay from taste makers KCRW prompted a well-attended LA show at the world famous Hotel Café a few days later.

Hard-to-please music press have been concurrently putting their arms around Gracie and Rachel. Those who have had the pleasure of seeing a live show are hit at once with the depth of the songwriting and endless width of their talent. WNYC Soundcheck in their track premiere for “Tiptoe,” for instance, nailed it by saying, “The two play off each other not only musically but mentally. Different shades of the same emotion appear simultaneously on their faces and flow through their instruments. A tangled and intimate connection between the two is apparent on stage and will no doubt imprint on their upcoming debut.” Here’s more.

The coming months are sure to see a flurry of activity and attention around Gracie and Rachel, but most immediately, here are those tour dates we mentioned (with Holly Miranda):

Tour dates:

Tue, Sep 15 - Rock N Roll Hotel - DC - with Holly Miranda
Fri, Sep 18 - Mercury Lounge - NYC - with Holly Miranda
Sat, Sep 19 - Great Scott - Boston, MA - with Holly Miranda
Tue, Sep 22 - Club Cafe - Pittsburgh, PA - with Holly Miranda
Wed, Sep 23 - The Loving Touch - Ferndale, MI - with Holly Miranda 
Thu, Sep 24 - Schubas Tavern - Chicago, IL - with Holly Miranda
Fri, Sep 25 - The Frequency - Madison, WI - with Holly Miranda
Sat, Sep 26 - 7th St. Entry - Minneapolis, MN - with Holly Miranda
Tue,Sep  29 - The Sunset - Seattle, WA - with Holly Miranda
Wed, Sep 30 - Mississippi Studios - Portland, OR - with Holly Miranda
Fri, Oct 2 - Bottom Of The Hill - San Francisco, CA - with Holly Miranda
Sat, Oct 3 - The Echo - Los Angeles, CA - with Holly Miranda
Sun, Oct 4 - The Merrow - San Diego, CA - with Holly Miranda
Wed, Oct 14 - Rockwood Music Hall - NYC - CMJ/Deli Magazine Showcase
Tue, Nov 3 - Rockwood Music Hall - NYC - Communion Residency
Thu, Nov 12 - The Midland Theatre - Newark, OH.

The vocals are lush and captivating and that's just half the story. Strings and piano and a driving beat make 'Tiptoe' a pretty special song, the reprise just emphasises the point. Genuinely leaves me wanting more.


Friday, 21 August 2015

Quality Not Quantity - Five We Like

Buffalo Sunn - Told You So.

Background - Five-piece Rock/Alternative band based in Dublin, Ireland,  incorporates sounds from the 60s, right up to the present day, mixing big reverb-laden harmonies with carefully placed guitars to take the listener on an epic journey. "Told You So" was produced by Grammy Award winner Pat McCarthy (U2, Counting Crows, R.E.M.). Their first single, "By Your Side" earned global airplay, which included over 450 spins at KKDO Radio 94.7 Sacramento.

Performed at multiple festivals and industry showcases including CMW (Canada), Music Matters Asia (Singapore), Liverpool Sound City (UK), Glasgowbury (UK), Hard Working Class Heroes (IE), CMJ (New York), SXSW (Austin, TX) and the Passport Approved Tour (Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento and more).

I am pretty certain Beehive Candy included Buffalo Sunn in a feature a couple of years back, in which case they are consistently very good. This is one of those tunes that grabbed me in the first few seconds, hopefully it will have the same effect on you.


Doctor Goddard - Without Love.

Background - Doctor Goddard is a rock band from the Blue Mountains, NSW who “fuse old school Jim Morrison-esque indie rock with distinctly contemporary sounds and production.” (Lachlan Wyllie, 90.3FM) Singles “Do You Ever” and “The Bar’s All Covered In Lies” off their debut EP received national airplay on Triple J and have been likened by critics to acts such as The War On Drugs, Pink Floyd and Tame Impala. 

The band formed after brothers Mikael Sandström (vocals, guitar) and Nicholas Sandström (drums) met Cleveland, Ohio local Chris Seaman (bass) at a uni poker tournament in 2013 and bonded over a communal love of rock, late night card games and blues music. 

The trio began honing their sound shortly before landing the support with The Preatures for their Is This How You Feel Sydney Tour in which time Doctor Goddard formed a friendship with producer Jack Moffitt (guitarist for The Preatures) who recorded their first EP in the summer of 2014 and their new single “Without Love”. Since the EP’s release in August 2014 and after playing gigs all over Sydney with bands such as Flyying Colours, I Know Leopard, Spookyland, Peking Duck, Sticky Fingers and Richard in Your Mind, Doctor Goddard has been complimented on its rich sound, raw live energy and kinetic rhythms. 

“Without Love” was written and recorded live by Doctor Goddard over a 2 day session in the summer of 2015 and mixed at The Preatures studio, Doldrums. Lyrically about love and music a modern edge bleeds into Without Love whilst also saluting the ghosts of the west coast blues/rock scene in 1970's America.

OK so the vocal style is pure Jim Morrison & on this track the music and production is not far off The Doors at any moment. Thankfully they do it so well and with enough passion, that if nothing else, it makes up for the rapid demise of their forerunners, ("when the music's over - turn off the lights").


Idgy Dean - Ominous Harminus.

Background - Considered one of the most enigmatic performers in Brooklyn, Idgy Dean has satiated those who have been demanding more from the one woman hurricane. Blending instinctual tribal-esque rhythms (that she blasts out herself on stage and then loops) with Kate Bush-ian late night siren howling, Idgy Dean has accomplished what almost nobody is able to do today by creating a trademark brand of pop that almost certainly cannot be pigeon holed. 

The new single, "Ominous Harminus" (the title track off the hyper personal LP out on September 18th) almost sounds like what a new waver in 1986 would write if inspired by 1960s movies about neanderthals. It's worth a listen, and much like the single's predecessors "The Indian Squirrel Dance" and "Bang Bang Sun" it has many of us hooked immediately.

This is refreshingly different in a very positive manner. The 'wall of sound' rhythms compete with Idgy's vocals, neither drowning out the other, just beating along together in this minor epic, excellent.


Aerials - Burn Burn Burn (from the EP 'Restless')

Background - Fresh off the stage supporting adrenaline rockers Dead Letter Circus, Brisbane's Aerials are set to unleash their sophomore EP, 'Restless'. Starting the year to capacity crowds at Melbourne's Rock the Bay, local hang Black Bear Lodge and a national run supporting Jericco on their 'Machine Made The Animal' tour, Aerials will be returning to the road with their own run of shows this spring, promising a lot sweat, strobes and riffs.

With Forrester Savell (Karnivool) returning to the desk, title-track and new single 'Restless' is a seductively sinister story packaged as a blinding-bright assault to the dance floor. The soon to be released David Lynch inspired video delves into an underground world of fetish, obsession and surrealism.

2014 was a break from the road, but a breakthrough as a band, following a week together in the wilderness to pen new material. A contradiction to the environment, the forthcoming EP is a collection of chaotic but cohesive pop with synthesized riffery and crunching beats, laced with the soaring and commanding croons of vocalist Jackson Walkden-Brown. The EP's teaser track 'Symptoms' received another Highly Commended Award from Q-Music in the Rock category.

The 'Restless' EP is available for pre-order via iTunes and bandcamp now and will be released September 4 via MGM.

This is one energy packed rock come wild pop EP. I have to say each track impressed me with their get on and enjoy it vibe. If you like the featured track the EP is one for your collection.


Naives - Horizon.

Background - Marc, a talented player of many instruments and former singer of the French band Megasushi (Paris 2006-1012) met Lapo, an italian-London based  producer and bass player (Frost, Fanny Games), in 2012. They established the core of tribal-tropical-indie-dance outfit N-A-I-V-E-S in East-London. Josh Gimber (Sons & Lovers, Alpines, Ellie Goulding) joined the band in 2014 as a session drummer, and finally permanent drummer Benji (ex Mausi) joined the band in 2015. 

N-A-I-V-E-S mix hook laden synths with big beat drums, to create charming electro pop bites, as fresh as they are unique. Their first single WIGO was released in February and the video hit 150.000 views (HERE). They supported Friendly Fires, Is Tropical, Reptile Youth, Goldie, Tessla Boy, Hot Sugar, Slow Magic, We Have Band, Mystery Jets and played a few crowded headline shows in Europe (Rome, Barcelona, Paris).

Gary Crowley played several tracks of the band in his show BBC London 94.9, they did a session for Radio Reprezent and they won an Auditions with Charlie Ashcroft on Amazing Radio.

There are so many good things going on with this song, the vocals and harmonies seemingly fly above an intense, yet bright and light soundtrack. Fresh and unique are fair words to describe this.