Quiet Hollers - Juanita Stein - Lone Kodiak - Altar Eagles - Sam Carmody

Quiet Hollers - Wheel.

Background - “Wheel” is one of the more raw, atmospheric songs on Amen Breaks (out on July 7th via sonaBLAST!), and one of the bands' first to feature a Roland CR-78 drum machine, their tribute to Roland’s Ikutaro Kakehashi. It also delves into the anxious existential theme that life can change in an instant, centered around frontman Shadwick Wilde’s quasi-phobia of car crashes (which he’s seen many of in his years of touring). 

“Wheel” follows Amen Breaks’ previously released stand-out single “Medicine”, a powerful track about crippling anxiety, depression, existential malaise, and society’s attitudes toward medication and addiction, along with “Funny Ways”, a song about criminality and the self-perpetuating prison-industrial complex. Both follow the album’s core themes that draw parallels with the cultural crossovers of the 1970's, a decade marred by division, political corruption, and terrorism… issues we can all relate to these days.

Expanding their shape-shifting palate to include vintage drum machines and samples, on Amen Breaks, Quiet Hollers raise questions of spirituality, sexuality, and mental illness to its new audience in tones that range from the cinematic to the psychedelic. Website here, Facebook here.

We featured 'Funny Ways' just a couple of weeks back however 'Amen Breaks' is such an impressive album that I could not resist the opportunity to now share 'Wheel'. Despite the initially stripped back nature of the track, the richness and charm remains, with this engaging and atmospheric song.


Juanita Stein - I'll Cry.

Background - Juanita Stein has just announced a full UK and Ireland tour to follow the release of her brilliant debut solo record, 'America', on 28th July (Nude Records).  

Juanita Stein had already announced UK festival dates this summer, including with Tom Petty in Hyde Park and at Cambridge Folk Festival, ahead of a brace of headline shows - in her adopted hometown of Brighton and in London - the week the album is released. Tickets for her new September/October headline tour dates will go on sale this Friday (30th June). See below for all upcoming dates.

The newest single to be taken from her album, which was recorded in Los Angeles with the producer Gus Seyffert (Beck, Ryan Adams), 'I’ll Cry' is available now to stream and as a free download for fans pre-ordering the album ahead of its release.

Says Stein: "'I'll Cry' is a musical ode to the all-American greats I took my cues from as a budding songwriter. Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline and the work of Phil Spector, all of whom made a significant imprint on my heart, I’m  forever  channeling that soulful sadness. I’ll Cry is a song that speaks of an impossible love, his resistance, her infatuation. Never a happy ending.” Website here, Facebook here, UK tour details on Beehive Candy's tour news page.

'I'll Cry' is melodic, gentle and very beautiful. If your going to write and perform a musical ode to some of popular musics all time greats, then it ought to be something quite special, and yes, this song is all of that.


Lone Kodiak - Calm Down.

Background - Produced by Johnny What (BRÅVES, Nikki Reed) and mastered by Grammy Award winning, John Greenham (Ice Cube, Bastille, Katy Perry, Sam Smith), “Calm Down” is the first single from the band’s forthcoming debut double EP “Feet in the Water.” Featuring exuberant strings, driving piano, eloquent acoustic guitar which offsets the energizing electric guitars, pep rally claps, both male and female vocals, and a distinctive hook, all in a hard-to-resist 3/4 time signature. The band have dubbed the sound “campfire rock," as it is intimate and honest enough to be a bedside lullaby while yearning to be an arena smash.

“The right hand piano part is where this one started,” explains Parker. “I was goofing around, playing an old news bulletin pattern, when I almost accidentally added the 3 left hand chords." 

“Calm Down” features the graceful, transcendent voice of Alex Rhodes. “The second I heard her voice come in on ‘Astronaut’ [one of Rhodes' singles], I knew she was the one," Parker said, "there is a emotionally devastating tenderness to her voice that we instantly fell in love with.” Lone Kodiak asked her to sing on the entire EP as well as the B-side, "Living Room Editions." LA violinist, Stephan Hovsepian, provided the captivating real strings just two days before the mix was due for mastering.

The debut single embraces light and life with a gang-chant melody that will stick with listeners for days. The effervescent rhythms, compelling guitar, bouncy choruses and a brooding breakdown are a potent recipe. Lone Kodiak isn't too bashful to be catchy nor too pop to forgo meaningful lyricism. "Calm Down" captures an intoxicating moment that sets the bar high or this new trio. Facebook here.

'Calm Down' is available as a free download (just click on the Soundcloud link below), and considering the calibre of this song, that's pretty generous. I like the bands "campfire rock" description for the song, which has power and yet is intimate or perhaps personal in feel.


Altar Eagles - Dead Letters.

Background - Altar Eagles debut E.P. is titled in eponymous fashion--"Altar Eagles." It's a nice gooey psychedelic affair, with real sentiments and emotions, excellently written songs, ear worms and hooks galore. 

Erik Alcock has been a professional songwriter since he was 17 years old.  He talked his way into a live audition with EMI Canada in his native Toronto and then proceeded to cut himself on his guitar, bled all over the auditioning executive’s office, and played terribly. He was signed on the spot. 

After getting signed Erik left home and school and spent the next two years living in a jam space.  While the experience was not all that conducive to his songwriting, Erik was able to develop his chops by playing constantly. 

His quality of life improved substantially when he joined a band and spent the next few years on tour. When the band broke up he started working with DJ Khalil, Chin Injeti and Liz Rodrigues, forming The New Royales. Since then they've written songs for  Eminem, Kanye West, Pink and a host of others, which led to several Grammy wins, having the theme for  Mission Impossible 4, the Call of Duty video game, and Jake Gyllenhall’s movie “Southpaw.” Facebook here.

'Dead Letters' is the second of seven tracks on the debut EP. We first featured Altar Eagles back in February, and having now heard the EP in full, I am impressed equally by the variety of musical themes and the overall quality of production. At the very least check the previous feature, however if you like this song go check out the EP, it's a good one.


Sam Carmody - The Sea Has Risen.

Background - Stepping out for his debut solo release, Sam Carmody is pleased to share ‘The Sea Has Risen’, a wonderfully crafted song that tells a moving tale of love against a backdrop of mesmerising melodies. Carmody’s visceral lyrics and emotive delivery are accompanied by eddying synths and jangling guitars, recalling the experimental Antipodean pop of Nick Cave, The Go-Betweens and Crowded House.

Born in Geraldton, drawn to Perth and now based in Darwin, Sam Carmody has been active as a writer for several years across various projects. In 2012 he won a WAMi Song of the Year award for his work with Perth four-piece Warning Birds. Just last year Carmody released his first novel 'The Windy Season' and was shortlisted for the Vogel’s Award - Australia’s most prestigious literary prize for young writers. For now though Sam’s creative focus lies in his solo musical output and his desire to getting back on stage.

Co-produced by former Warning Birds bandmate Bensen Thomas, ‘The Sea Has Risen’ is the first official single taken from Carmody’s forthcoming EP ‘Shadow in the Dream’ and will be launched live with a six-piece band at Music NT’s Song of the Year Awards, for which the track is nominated in the Pop category.

Sam Carmody possesses a gifted talent that will continue to bloom as he readies his new material for a 2017 release. Facebook here.

That Sam Carmody can really sing, is conclusively answered by just this one track 'The Sea Has Risen'. The musical production is melodic and superb, however it's Sam's vocals that make this a very special song.