Friday, 1 July 2016

Friday Four: Ivey - Mother Leads - Lunch Duchess - Old Sault

Ivey - All Things Good.

Background promo - Fresh faced, born and bred to take on new adventures, Gold Coast's Ivey have been charming the pants off music fans and critics alike since 2013. Remaining just as breezy and young in their delivery but continuing to tighten the screws, Ivey ask nothing more of you, dear listener, than to revel in their indie-pop dream.

With half the band still tending to their high school studies, the young troupe is led by young Millie (15), with Lachlan (18) co-fronting on vocals and guitar. Matthew (17) and Dante (19) fill the rhythm out. With Millie at the front-and-centre, Ivey is empowering young teens, irregardless of gender, to pursue their passions.

Building on the warm familiarity of previous single, 'Smell of Smoke' but also daring to tread new grounds, 'All Things Good' both sways and wallops with its charming delivery of honest lyrics that imbed in your brain. 'All Thing Good' was recorded with the helping hand of producer extraordinaire Konstantin Kersting (Yes Sir Noceur, the Belligerents, WAAX) at Brisbane's Airlock Studios and mixed by both Kersting and Gold Coast's own George Carpenter (Waxhead, Jimmy the Saint & the Sinners, Karl S. Williams).

Ivey are not only maturing as musicians, but are doing it with style and ease. Continuing to further their shimmering, indie-pop sound that fans have come to adore just reaffirms the group's much deserved, unremitting success.

Single Launch Shows:
July 8 - Elsewhere - Gold Coast, QLD*
July 16 - Foundry Records - Brisbane, QLD (All Ages)
August 19 - NightQuater - Gold Coast, QLD*
August 27 - ShakaFest - Gold Coast, QLD
* w/ Peach Fur & Lotus Ship

'All Good Things' runs the risk of too many age related comments, because it's such an excellent and well developed song. So lets just say if you love beach pop, then it's happy days all round (including teenagers).


Mother Leads - Lost Cosmonauts.

From the band - This is a new song about leaving it all behind. About leaving that place or person..or thing.

Sometimes leaving it all behind means that you end back up where you started. We've found that music is best set against the vacuum of space... the never-ending expanse that begs to be flooded with all that your imagination can conjure, until the inevitable return to Terra Firma.

'Lost Cosmonauts' or 'Lost Cosmos', whichever you prefer, is a soundtrack for your imagination. It's the dream of loss and rediscovery that we've all experienced. Wether it be your town or city,  job or family, boyfriend or girlfriend...or even your metaphorical 'space ship'...we hope this track will guide you back home.Stay in tuned for more and keep your imagination alive. -- Mother Leads.

With a funky alt rock soundtrack and suitably fine and punchy vocals, 'Lost Cosmonauts' is an immediately catchy and very solid song. Ontario band Mother Leads have a well developed and tight sound, that's nicely shaken up by their enthusiastic playing, ensuring those old rock'n'roll vibes come through.


Lunch Duchess - Cry.

Background - The Minneapolis, MN grunge-pop band Lunch Duchess have headed out on their first US west coast tour. Their EP “My Mom Says I Have A Rich Inner Life” was released in March 2016 and quickly garnered enthusiastic praise from local radio and local press. The band will soon be recording their debut full-length album for a planned 2017 release.

Tour Dates:
7/1 Kansas City, MO – House Show
7/2 Denver, CO – Club Scum
7/3 Provo, UT – Studio Studio Dada
7/5 Bellingham, WA – Alternative Library
7/6 Vancouver, BC, Canada – TBA
7/7 Seattle, WA – Lucky Liquor
7/8 Spokane, WA – Baby Bar
7/9 Missoula, MT – The Palace
7/10 Billings, MT – Railyard
7/11 Rapid City, SD – Black Hills Vinyl.

'Cry' is the first song off the four track EP (on Bandcamp) released back in March. The band have a wonderfully distinct sound, that is very infectious, and pretty hard to pigeon hole in any one genre.


Old Sault - Sail Home.

Background promo - ‘Sail Home’, the haunting second single from Gold Coast “bandless band” Old Sault aka Angie Farr, was borne out of an existential crisis. Rich in eerie imagery, Farr penned the track after coming to a realisation that much of humanity has struggled with. ‘Sail Home’ unpacks the epiphany that no “grand ark” was ever going to arrive to sail her to her dreams in style – that she simply needed to “get in my shity inflatable boat and start the trek right now.”

This new glimpse into Farr’s ponderous soul follows the success of Old Sault’s debut single ‘Ghost’. The track received triple j airplay as well as praise from influential taste makers, from Italian blog Going Solo all the way to triple j's Richard Kingsmill himself. Both singles were recorded with the help of the ARIA-winning Govinda Doyle (Angus & Julia Stone). Old Sault’s debut EP Mostly Worried is set for an imminent release.

We featured Old Sault's first single back in March and the new song 'Sail Home' is equally delightful. It's an atmospheric composition, that allows Angie Farr to create a stirring mood with her fine vocals, whilst the soundtracks melody unfolds. Looking forward to the next. 


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Lake Ruth - Actual Entity (Album Release)

Lake Ruth - Dr. Snow And The Broad Street Pump.

Background promo - Lake Ruth was formed in 2015 by multi-instrumentalist Hewson Chen of The New Lines, drummer Matt Schulz and vocalist Allison Brice, best known for her prior work with UK groups The Eighteenth Day of May and The Silver Abduction.

With a unique sound rooted in 1960s experimentation, the trio blends elements of baroque pop, pysch, kraut, jazz and electronic music – resulting in rhythmically propulsive tunes, rich with multilayered guitars, modular synths and atmospheric vocals. The nine songs of 'Actual Entity' are highly varied in style yet sonically cohesive, ranging from cinematic Italian soundscapes and post-C86 pop anthems to delicate English folk songs and extended motorik jams.

The album's title 'Actual Entity' is a reference to the Process Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, and alludes to the fluid nature of reality. Its nine songs are populated with a collection of marginal characters – the dispossessed, the isolated and the dead. An artificial intelligence losing its mind during an endless winter. A necromancer unable to raise the dead. The revolt of nature against industrialism. The ghost of a vengeful mother forever hunting down her daughter's murderer. A Victorian physician desperate to save a dying community.

The Stereo LP (cat: 132) is available from the label The Great Pop Supplement (Spacemen 3, Dean & Britta, Wooden Shjips) in a limited edition pressing of 400 (released 24th June 2016), and available for streaming and download via all major digital distributors.

'Dr. Snow And The Broad Street Pump' is one of nine, really fine songs on the new album 'Actual Entity', (there's also a video for this song which will be added to our BeeVids page). The band cover a lot of musical territory with this album, sometimes it's quite retro, with sixties psychedelic vibes coming to mind, then there's a more modern chamber pop feel on some songs, then if you add folk flavours through to layered synthy music, we start to build the overall picture. It's a treasure trove of beautiful songs, the background above is pretty much spot on, as the old cliche goes - if you like the featured song , you'll love the album.


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Quality Not Quantity: Febria - Moddi - Brother Hawk

Febria - The End Of Something.

Background promo - Febria is a five-piece alternative rock band washed up on the banks of the river Usk. Originally formed in high school in Pontypool, and influenced by everything from prog, metal, grunge, indie and folk, they have recorded several EPs and a full-length live album, and have played many gigs around South Wales and the UK. Their music reflects a wide range of influences, varying from acoustic folk all the way through to dense prog, and they are proud of not easily fitting into one particular genre as a result. Their latest EP, 'The Sea Around Us', is their fifth recording, and they are currently working on their next release.
This EP represents an evolution in sound, carrying even further the complexity and rejection of traditional structure already shown in some of their previous releases adding multiple layers of vocals and guitars. One of the approaches to the songs was the idea of writing music which sounds like math/post-rock, but with vocals, focusing on the concept of introducing motifs and melodies in one section which then reappear in another section, over completely different chords - this occurs in every song. Despite all the repeating parts in many of the tracks, very little was looped artificially, but instead was played naturally from start to finish, to try to retain a sense of atmosphere and feel.

'The Sea Around Us' EP has been available on-line for sometime, with Nub Music recently releasing it. The first song and featured track 'The End Of Something' gives a good indication of the reasonably distinct sound the band create. Febria are clearly musically very competent and not afraid to test boundaries and experiment, whats more important is that they are also one very fine listen.


Moddi - Army Dreamers.

Background details - “What a waste of Army Dreamers” – it’s an anti-war sentiment that was openly echoed through BBC play lists before its systematic suppression more than 10 years after release. Penned by Kate Bush in 1980, the Top 20 single was blacklisted during the Gulf War in 1991 – joining a list of 67 songs simultaneously banned from BBC airplay, including The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, ABBA and Queen.

It’s the latest track reworked by Norwegian singer/songwriter Moddi, from forthcoming album ‘Unsongs’ – released Friday, September 16 via Propeller Recordings. The album aims to uncover a collection of 12 songs that have, at one stage or another, been banned or suppressed, with the attempts to silence them as mild as an airplay ban (in the case of ‘Army Dreamers’) and as brutal as a murder. “Army Dreamers became one of Kate Bush’s most popular songs and was widely played on radio and TV until the First Gulf War in 1991, when it suddenly disappeared from all BBC playlists” Moddi explains. Despite on line records and a full list published by New Statesman and Society, in conjunction with Channel 4 [1991], “the BBC has had an absolute no-comment policy on this issue,” he says. “It has been impossible for me to verify that it has even been removed from radio airplay.”

‘Army Dreamers’ follows Moddi’s rework of satirical hymn ‘Punk Prayer’, that had Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot trialled and imprisoned in 2012. Watch it HERE. The track is partnered with news of Moddi’s European Tour to mark the release of ‘Unsongs’, including a one-off London show at St Giles-In-The-Fields on Monday, October 3rd.

I find the idea behind Moddi's planned album extremely appealing, so much so, that had his cover of Kate Bush's 'Army Dreamers' only been average, I would probably have featured it, to highlight this project. As it happens, his version is quite inspiring and also respectful to the original. The link for his Pussy Riot 'Punk Prayer' above is also worth checking. Moddi, is a very talented individual, who creates a beautiful sound both vocally and musically. Definitely an album to keep in mind.


Brother Hawk - Have Love Will Travel.

Background bio - Brother Hawk puts on its morning jacket, unhitches its crazy horse, and gallops off in the direction of a big pink house somewhere over the hills and faraway. With this much horsepower at your command, why would you need to reinvent the wheel?

The four piece Atlanta band deals in raging riffs and huge hooks. Rhythms pound and pulse as serpentine guitar leads uncoil and slither, spiked with venomous licks that only a forked tongue could produce.

Their blend of Southern fried blues rock is firmly rooted in the earthy tricks traditionally traded for at the red clay crossroads but their live performances convey an electrified ebullience that blasts them into the stratosphere. On stage, they’re riding rockets fueled by a vicious cocktail of sweat and hellfire. An uncut, undeniable purity of purpose is palpable when the band is firing on all cylinders. Brother Hawk’s sound is the sunset that the hero rides into. It’s red hot white light. It’s honest emotion. It’s alive.

Having released the album 'Big Medicine' not that long ago Brother Hawk head out on a USA national tour this week (tour dates here). We feature the first track on the album 'Have Love Will Travel' which gives a flavour of their bluesy, soulful 'southern' rock. It's a little like early Black Crowes material, where you sense they are not trapped in any one genre, indeed as the album develops 'alt rock' seems just as appropriate as a description. Timeless and wonderful!


Monday, 27 June 2016

Genre Wander: A Treehouse Wait - Searls - Basement Revolver - Chelan

A Treehouse Wait - Faith.

Background promo - Jenny Wahlström from A Treehouse Wait grew up with one foot at a country farm in the south of Sweden. She had her other foot in Asia, where her parents worked for several periods of time during her childhood. She has mainly worked as a songwriter in the EDM-stage, co-writing and performing with acts like Martin Garrix (Virus), Shermanology (Stranger) and Ferry Corsten (Many ways).

Realising that it wasn’t just songs that made sense to herself, but the fact that people actually listened when she started singing re-inspired her. After spending a month in the USA, being the opening act for a Swedish folksinger, singer and songwriter Jenny Wahlström plucked up the courage to put the songs down on paper and record the songs she didn’t think she’d ever share with the rest of the world. A Treehouse Wait was born.

The music is mostly inspired by the things one is so familiar with, but mostly would not talk about. Like empty city streets during the summer. Or when anxiety leaves. Giving up your love or the fear of leaving home. It’s not all beautiful, but it’s all life. And sharing that experience, the music suddenly creates a place for you to be, and you know that someone else has been there, too.

8-07-2016 Gullbranna Festivalen, Eldsberga, Sweden
07-08-2016  Rörstrands Café, Stockholm, Sweden
13-08-2016 The Brave Festival, Amsterdam, Holland.

Jenny Wahlström delivers a heartfelt song in the form of 'Faith'. Musically it just builds into something quite powerful before a wonderful refrain calms thing's down. It's hard to pigeon hole this song genre wise, which I so often feel is actually the sign of imaginative song writing.


Searls - Follow (Prod. LJ Looper).

Background promo - The 'Follow' EP is a collaboration between singer/ songwriter Searls and electronic producer LJ Looper.

Searls, originally from Ireland, is a musician who takes older influences from the likes of Brian Eno, Kraftwerk and blends contemporary acts such as James Blake, Jessie Ware, Shura and mixes it all up to create his own sound. Learning his craft as a backing singer, he decided to turn his attentions to songwriting. Last year he released his first single Doing Time and remixes of the track received great attention from the dance community. This summer will see him release his debut-EP.

All of the EP was produced by LJ Looper, a London based Electronic Music Producer & DJ. Looper is mostly known for producing an ‘Electronic Urban’ sound; his future Bass remix of Doing Time was play-listed on Reprezent Radio. In April 2016, Looper was supported by the MOBO Awards for his track ‘Let Me Know’, featuring Keith Sweats’ protege, Jason Little. Regarding his latest collaboration, he says: “Searls’ vocal range was incredible to work with, allowing us to record an intimate lead performance, backed by rich, haunting choral layers. The distinctiveness and heartfelt emotion in his voice is what drew me to working with him in the first place.”

The EP consists of 3 tracks: Demons, Hurricane and Follow. Songs that are heavily infused with haunting Celtic choral backing vocals to Searls’ soulful lead. The songs explore themes such as addiction, sexuality, love and oppression through an electro-ambient RnB lens. Follow will be released on all platforms.

'Follow'gives you a really good feel for the new EP. It's a collection of lush, highly crafted songs and the collaboration has in my opinion really paid off. Here you have three imaginative pieces produced to achieve optimum audio and artistic quality.


Basement Revolver - Words.

Background from the band - Last week we shared our second single 'Words' off our upcoming EP.

“Words” was written when I was in my last semester of university. I lived downtown and school was up on the mountain and somewhat inaccessible by bus. I was writing my honours psych thesis at the time, as well as many other papers, when it all began to feel meaningless.

 No matter what I said, in the end, words are just words, they can be stringed together to form something powerful but without context they become as mundane and uncontrollable as one’s commute to and from school. Similarly, a paper is just a paper, a degree is just a degree, and there is so much more to life than the plans and the empires that we build for ourselves.

Second time around on Beehive Candy for Basement Revolver, this time with the a new song 'Words'. I was mightily impressed with the first song 'Johnny' which I'm pleased to say will also be one of the four songs on the forthcoming EP. This band exude wonderful melodies, well written songs, and they put them together with so much heart and feeling. I'm way to old to be a gushing fan of any artists, however this band are testing me on that.


Chelan - Beams.

Background promo - Its been a busy couple of years for Chelan (sh-lan). The american synth/indie pop band (based out of Joshua Tree CA) immediately started the planning process for their newest album "Vultures" after the early 2015 release of their 4th full length album "Equal Under Pressure." Chelan, who formed in California in 2007, is historically the duo of classical music teacher Jennifer Grady and film/tv music composer Justin Hosford. However, in early 2015 they added a third permanent member, Chad Austinson, to play drums. After a series of live performances and writing sessions, the group spent a year meeting for long periods of time at Hosford's studio in Joshua Tree and producer Matt Drenik's studio in Portland, Oregon. In addition to bringing on Drenik to co-produce the album with Hosford, they linked up with Doug Boehm (Guided by Voices, Girls) to mix a handful of tracks.

Vultures is Chelan's most ambitious studio effort to date but they were also careful to ensure they can replicate the album during live performances. When asked about the writing process for Vultures Hosford says "Its been a fun challenge morphing from the mostly electronic, subdued indie aesthetic of our last couple albums to the wall of sound, big production synth pop thing we went for on this record." The album surrounds layered vocals with lush analog synths, guitar, drums, cello and piano.  Chelan is currently planning a tour in the spring of 2017. Vultures was mastered by Jared Hirshland of Elysian Mastering. Album Artwork by Kime Buzzelli.

'Beams' is the first of nine songs on the new album 'Vultures'. The analog synths add a richness to the beautifully constructed and quite melodic music, and the vocals add even more colour. This is a clear and positive step forward from the previous album suggesting a band that are confident in their musical direction. 


Sunday, 26 June 2016

Sunday Gems: The Big Bend - Robbie Miller - Naropa

The Big Bend - Celebrate.

Background promo - “Celebrate” is the title track to The Big Bend’s new album that the always-reliable label Misra Records (Phosphorescent, Melaena Cadiz, Destroyer, etc) is putting out on July 22nd. Celebrate is the band's fourth release and has all the hallmarks of a career milestone, calling to mind early-‘70s Neil Young in its songwriting, with vocals reminiscent of The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle.

The Big Bend is led by Chet Vincent, who's been kicking around Pittsburgh playing in bands since he was a teenager. A regular fixture of the city’s quietly thriving music scene, he's established a reputation as one of the city’s most dedicated figures. Celebrate shows the band’s dynamic range - from the first discordant, psychedelic notes of album opener “The Spins,” through the closing bars of the stripped-down, folky “Su La Ley.”

In between, Vincent’s vocals show range stylistically, from shouts on the rowdier tunes, to lilting crooning reminiscent of The Weakerthans’ John K. Samson on the softer songs. He’s always been a storyteller, weaving characters and situations into songs, but here he takes on social issues, both obliquely and directly, on songs like “Cut Us Down” and Fingertrap.”

A few artist references in the promo above, however I reckon it's fair to say that The Big Bend have enough good attributes of their own as the song 'Celebrate' clearly demonstrates. I have not had a chance to check out any other material by the band yet, however on listening to this again today, that's down to happen pretty soon now.


Robbie Miller - Road.

Background promo - Robbie Miller continues to forge his own path with new single 'Road', and whispers of a new EP to come later this year.

Keeping busy following the release of triple j favourite, 'The Pain' and 2015 EP The Faster the Blood Slows, the Brisbane based Indigenous artist went straight back into the studio to create a wealth of new tracks. Devised as a collaboration with friend and band mate Nathan Morrison, 'Road' brings more electronic elements to Robbie's folk sound than ever before. Pulsating synths swirl around his signature brooding vocals to create an emotionally powered three and a half minutes. Connecting with listeners already, the track is off to a flying start, added to triple j rotation this week just a day after its debut on Good Nights with Linda Marigliano.

Road-testing the new material with a number of coveted support spots, Robbie recently toured alongside Josh Pyke and will support Dustin Tebbutt on his upcoming First Light album tour in August. He then releases his much anticipated second EP later this year with a few more surprises still to come.

'Road' really does showcase Robbie Miller's wonderful vocals. What's equally fine is the song, melodic, and sensitively layered, it's one of those instant likes for me.


Naropa - If Only While I'm Sleeping.

Background from the band - We're a band from London called "Naropa". We're University students and have been really busy gigging around London for six months, as well as constantly writing and rehearsing, working on developing our sound and live set.

These demos got us a load of great reviews which you can check out on our website and we ended up getting completely booked up by London promoters four months in advance, as well as getting us some attention and airplay from BBC Introducing and further radio play worldwide in places like Holland, South America and USA. To keep building momentum, we got back into the studio as soon as possible and recorded our new single. The track is called "If Only While I'm Sleeping", and was officially released on all major streaming platforms yesterday, 25th June.

There's bags of passion and energy within the new song 'If Only While I'm Sleeping' from Naropa. It's clear the band have developed their sound through live gigging and plenty of graft, and by the sounds of this I'm not surprised they have been getting attention and performances. Ones to watch out for, I would say.