Sunday, 25 September 2016

Globetrotting: Bitter's Kiss - Miss Max - Blue House - TVRQUOISE - PLGRMS - Chain Wallet

Bitter's Kiss - My God.

Background bio - Bitter's Kiss is primarily a vehicle for singer/songwriter Chloe Baker to showcase her talents.  Chloe grew up in a home filled with music, with a father who maintained a studio, a guitar collection and a band, and has been active in musical theatre for years.  Chloe currently attends High Tech, an arts academy in North Bergen, NJ.  Chloe has been serious about writing music for around a year, and has worked with her father to record and produce her music over the past several months.  

The reception has been incredibly positive, with a lot of encouragement to take her efforts to the next level.  Chloe uses songwriting as a diary and a means of exploring her world.  The track The Rope, for example, examines her feelings about the suicide of a distant cousin from a very religious background and the importance of staying true to one's identity and finding something personally significant to make life meaningful.  Another song, Too Far Too Fast, is a reaction to watching her older sister go off to college and noting how quickly time passes. The magic of Bakers work though is that despite this sad and often strange world she still manages to find hope. Website here.

The song 'My God' has been around for a few months however the video is new. The film brings the lyrics to life, and asks a reasonable question regarding what religion is about. Well we are about music and this is one fine song, as regards religion, all I will add is, the truth is out there...


Miss Max - Gypsy Heart.

Background promo - Hailing from the remote one street tourist town of Coral Bay in Western Australia, barefooted folk songstress Miss Max recently crowned “Best of the North West” has captured the beauty of the nomadic travellers lifestyle with her new track ‘Gypsy Heart’.

Miss Max recently opened the 2016 North West Festival Weekender for the likes of Xavier Rudd, Sarah Blasko and The Rubens. Her debut EP has been capturing hearts since its release at the beginning of the year, her story telling shines in the single 'Gypsy Heart' capturing the beauty of the nomadic travellers’ lifestyle. “‘Gypsy Heart’ is a song to inspire those who haven't quiet found themselves, to travel and to live there lives for themselves and not others, its based on the spirit of the travellers I've met working in tourism and the nomadic lifestyle in which they and myself follow,” says Miss Max about the track.

In July, Miss Max started an Australia wide tour in her big blue van to promote her EP "Gypsea Heart". The tour began back down in Margaret River, and she is currently heading north following the WA coastline towards Darwin, down the middle through Alice Springs to the Eyre Peninsula and Adelaide, then across to Melbourne and up the coast through Sydney and Brisbane.

At the beginning of the tour, Miss Max was announced the winner of the local artist competition 'Best of the North West', seeing her open the 2016 North West Festival weekend in Port Hedland late August and with the re-release of her inspiring track 'Gypsy Heart' she is set to catapult onto festival line ups around the country. The track ‘Gypsy Heart’ was recorded and produced by the talented Dave Mann, in his custom built shipping container studio on his self sufficient farm in the heart of Margaret River. Dave is a seasoned gypsy and songwriter himself and features in the track with his soulful harmonies. Website here. Upcoming Show: 14th Oct - Port Lincoln Hotel.

Miss Max has a really pleasing and melodic voice, that is just right for modern folk music. 'Gypsy Heart' is a wispy and engaging song, that feels quite personal, whilst also having something of a mood lift within it.


Blue House - Albert Played The Euphonium.

Background - “John the Unready” is one of two tracks that the duo, James Howard and Ursula Russell, released on September 9th via Canvasclub, Canvasback’s imprint for singles by up and coming musicians. The side B, "Albert Plays The Euphonium."

The band, comprised of James Howard and Ursula Russell, makes music that is subtle, elliptical, and ambiguous - rarely an obvious beast. They present us with a world of haunted pop — songs about people just departed, places just left, and events just witnessed.

Leaving no stone unturned, Blue House willfully explore the intricacies of pop, with an emphasis on poetics and quality songwriting. The fragile balance of atmospherics and presence in their music lends an understated and entrancing numerousness throughout it.

This Canvasclub release comes ahead of Suppose, the duo's debut full-length, out worldwide on September 30th via Whipped Cream Records (UK). Facebook here.

'Albert Played The Euphonium' is one of those song titles that gets you halfway to being featured on Beehive Candy even before a listen. In actual fact this is a delightful song, that gently delivers a fine melody alongside calming vocals. This one is a quite addictive, you have been warned!


TVRQUOISE - Liar and the Fighter.

Background - Faye Wellman, a Michigan native, is a vocalist and writer living in Los Angeles, CA. Faye merges musical and emotional intuition with her education in music, performance, and writing to compose lyrics and inspired melodies. 

Matt Hogan (NY) is a multi-instrumentalist and producer living in Los Angeles, CA. With a background in classical upright bass, Matt combines his love of free flowing expressive musicianship with a mix of ethereal textures, electronic beats, and dream pop.

The two met during their studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Two years later, on the California Coast, TVRQUOISE officially emerged with a sound best defined by color.

TVRQUOISE’s debut EP reveals tender moments from half a decade. Faye’s lyrics derive from residencies, travels, and encounters in places such as Boston, Michigan, New York City, San Francisco, Mexico, and Belize. From Paralyzed Legs, a piece revealing the subconscious thoughts surrounding a captive relationship, to Calling Out, a track echoing the constant struggle between being a wanderlust and seeking lasting human connection, the trying pivot from youth to adulthood is present. 

The project’s name was derived from a train of fateful events and the power of the turquoise stone. Turquoise paves way for strength, wholeness, and truth. Turquoise aids in self-forgiveness, self-acceptance, and the release of useless regrets. Turquoise provides protection and the recognition of beauty, enabling new beginnings. TVRQUOISE is the electro-dreampop project of Faye Wellman and Matt Hogan. Website here.

'Liar and the Fighter' slowly builds into a dreamy and quite calming song. The vocals are smooth and beautifully immersed in the musical flow. It's electro dream pop, with a subtle hint of shoegaze somewhere within the mix.


PLGRMS - Gemini.

Background - “Accepting defeat from that little voice of persuasion in your head and becoming attached to the alter ego; it can feel like someone else is in control of you. You become a vessel of thoughts and feelings that aren't necessarily your own, and you get to escape for a while.” Gemini. The man with two personalities, the twin, the alter ego.

We all have that desire to give in to the little voice on our shoulder, not caring about what may happen. This is the sentiment behind new single ‘Gemini’ from Australian duo PLGRMS, released 23rd November via London-based singles club 0E0E.

‘Gemini’ stands up to its name in sound and lyrics, showing another side to the duo through a darker, more brooding sound compared to previous singles. 'Gemini' is a bit darker and slinkier’ explains Jonathan Bowden, one half of the Australian duo alongside singer-songwriter Jacob Pearson. “While 'Gemini' still harbours elements of the previous singles, we were keen to give it its own distinct flavour…'Gemini' was a real team effort between both Jake and I and our producer, Ross James.”

PLGRMS’ newest offering follows previous singles ‘Fools And Their Gold’, and debut ‘Pieces’, which have collectively garnered 3million streams so far on Spotify/Apple, 150k SoundCloud and 20k Shazam. PLGRMS is the Sydney-based duo of singer-songwriter Jacob Pearson and multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Jonathan Bowden. Facebook here.

The superb vocals on 'Gemini' immediately grabbed my attention. Musically it's a sophisticated electro soundtrack, and combined together it's one very good song.


Chain Wallet - Faded Fight.

Background - It can’t be denied that there is something sorrowful behind the Bergen-based, lo-fi dream/psych pop trio Chain Wallet, and they can’t hide that their music suits the environment wherein it was created. It may be a cliché that it always rains in the band’s hometown, but when you play Chain Wallet’s self-titled debut album, it’s not too difficult imagine the mist hanging heavily over their dystopian vision of Bergen.

The band's Frode Boris talks about the new video: "It is a video about liminality and the paradox of hedonism. It was directed by our talented chum Kristian Engelsen. We have worked with him in the past, on the video for “Stuck In The Fall”. The girl is Maria, a young photographer and energy drink enthusiast. The video was in fact conceived when the director wanted to get a free tattoo from her. There are so many people in this video, and they all belong to an emerging scene celebrating creativity."

Even though feelings of nostalgia and melancholy lurk in the Scandinavian shadows, it’s not difficult to find indie-pop gold in its purest form, glittering below the heavy layers of synth and reverb. Tracks like ‘Shade’ and ‘Abroad’ have an up-tempo urgency to them which calls to mind bands like Motorama, whereas other dreamy psych ballads like ‘Muted Colours’ and ‘Stuck In The Fall’ occupy a rich and hazy middle ground between Diiv and Wild Nothing. Though Chain Wallet may not have many genre colleagues in Norway, they easily join the ranks behind international indie counterparts like Twin Shadow or Beach Fossils.

On their debut album, Chain Wallet explore themes of betrayal, idleness and crushed dreams against the backdrop of an existential breakdown. Wrapped in the shimmer and haze of the lo-fi soundscape that they conjure, the album is loosely based in the same universe, and portrays different aspects of the quarter-life crisis. Self-titled debut album out Oct 7th via Jansen Plateproduksjon. Facebook here.

'Faded Fight' has a paced psych pop vibe running right through it. The vocals and the music flow along well together, with the mix and production bringing out the best of both. At the very least it's a good appetiser for Octobers album release.


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