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.