Alternative Take: I Wish I Was a Fish - Hundreds - Of Gentlemen & Cowards - Ex Reyes - Daphne Willis

I Wish I Was a Fish - Follow.

Background promo - Four intense and crazy days in San Fransisco - that was all it took for Stockholm based artist I Wish I Was A Fish, or songwriter/multiinstrumentalist Frida Teresia Svensson, to finish what is going to be released as her debut EP.

The solo project, which started out from an everlasting curiousity towards learning new instruments and finding out what they can do with the songs, finally transformed into shape when Frida met producer Elliott Peltzman during a trip to San Fransisco. Pretty soon after their first creative meeting Frida found herself working in Elliot's studio with a vision to create something where an acoustic live vibe meets an electronic landscape.

The material to be heard on the EP; and that is exemplified by new single "Follow", was written while Frida spent an autumn in Berlin. Some of the songs stems from reflections on society, while others are more personal recollections, a way to work through things that happens in life, that have slowly turned to be more political. A playfulness, a lot of fire and one or two water metaphors are what embodies I Wish I Was A Fish.

"Follow" is the first single out from I Wish I Was A Fish's debut EP. The single is out now on all digital platforms, with the EP to follow on December 2nd. Facebook here.

Oh I do like 'Follow'. Frida Teresia Svensson has both passion and commitment in her vocals whilst Elliott Peltzman on Synths & drums and Vince Dewald on Bass, deliver a feisty building soundtrack. The EP is definitely on the "must listen list" as of now.


Hundreds - Spotless.

Background - Lonely, but powerful, "Spotless" is the second official single from their upcoming album. Based in Hamburg, Germany,  Hundreds have a knack for creating cinematic, unusual soundscapes, and 'Spotless' adds another element to their unique sound with a slightly cheerful, pop-take on their usual goosebump-inducing sound, which accompanies the listener into the night.

Siblings Eva and Philipp Milner catapulted to internet success after releasing self-titled debut album, Hundreds, in 2010. Despite having no budget or radio airplay, the pair became one of the greatest German indie pop stories in recent times.

Stemming from this success, Hundreds have played shows all over Europe, as well as international festivals like SXSW (US), Iceland Airwaves and The Great Escape (UK). Their live sets incorporate the wonderful cinematic influences which stem from Philipp's classical music studies, while also paying homage to the vibrant German techno scene.

With a sound reminiscent of Massive Attack, Dido or Radiohead, no comparison can really do them justice. Eva's haunting vocal soars over beautifully downtempo piano chords, creating a wonderfully Gothic ambiance. Philipp's piano chords and melodies against the backdrop of electronic soundscapes and rythmics immerse listeners in a deep and intense musical journey. Wilderness is out via Embassy of Music 04/11/2016. Hundreds will also be touring their new album in November - more info here

The music video for 'Spotless' works so well, for what is a really fine song. As the promo above suggests, Hundreds have developed what is clearly their own identifying sound, where comparisons come and go, whilst the music remains distinct and creative.


Of Gentlemen & Cowards - Make It On Your Own.

Background from the band - Our band Of Gentlemen & Cowards is set to release our debut album, Modern Jukebox, on January 27, 2017 via Maisonneuve Music. Today we get to tease you with our new video.

'Make It On Your Own' started as a song about coming home after being away, and seeing your city and your life from the outside as you hadn't seen before. We wrote it as a reminder to ourselves of all the things we love but also the things we wish to change. During the two years we spent writing and recording this record the song took on a larger meaning for us and became a mantra for our band. You are never gonna get anywhere if you're waiting for a big break, and to truly be happy you'll need to reevaluate what success means to you. The music video follows four stories where the characters set out to accomplish their goals big and small, and though the outcome may not always be life changing, the act of pursuing the goal is celebrated as accomplishment in itself.

We formed in 2010. As a band we've seen ups and downs, including an appearance on Late Night With David Letterman and an ill-fated cruise ship gig that both broke our collective heart and yet transformed our sound into a more soulful one. Through it all, as Of Gentlemen & Cowards we've persevered our optimistic outlook. Website here.

'Make It On Your Own' may be something of a mantra for the band, it's also a good indie rock song. With an upbeat vibe at the core of this song, the band have clearly honed their craft, allowing the positives to shine through.


Ex Reyes - Keeping U In Line.

Background - Ex Reyes is the psych-soul sound of music-dude Mikey Freedom Hart. It is a project that is based around musical community and the spark of collaboration; the inevitable result of many hours spent with talented friends in unlikely places. 

Ex Reyes is the subtle sophistication of the Beach Boys, the weirdness of psychedelic-era Temptations, the sonic experimentation of Phil Spektor and Delia Derbyshire, the free freneticism of dancehall, and the superb oddity of synthesizer-soaked dollar records, distilled into songs about real things.

Do Something EP, Ex Reyes' debut EP, was recorded over the past 5 years in hotel rooms, sheds, and proper studios all over the world--from Africa to New Orleans, Japan to Scandinavia--alongside Hart's travels as a top-tier session musician, sideman, and collaborator to such artists as Bleachers (Jack Antonoff), Santigold, The Cranberries, Sia, Mike D, Albert Hammond Jr., Adam Green, Sinkane, Dam Funk, and more. Website here.

'Keeping U In Line' was described to me as being structured like an old Motown song albeit with a more lo-fi feel. I'm guessing the person who wrote that is learning what buttons to push, to gain my interest! The good thing is, it's a really good description for what is a beautiful song. Mixing the old and new together with considerable sophistication, it gives a good feel of the quality on the new EP.


Daphne Willis - Come Together (EP).

Background - Collaborating across multiple genres ranging from Soul-Rock and Pop to Hip Hop and Electronic Dance Music, classifying Daphne Willis in musical terms is no easy task. With infectious melodies delivered with lyrical precision and honesty, the songs and performances of Daphne Willis are sincere, compelling and relevant.

Raised in Chicago and relocated now to Nashville, Willis cites influences as varied as Elvis Costello and Michael Jackson, but her musical output cleverly incorporates such inspirations into a style that is refreshing and contemporary in a way that suits her songs best. Daphne is currently a Pop writer at Sony/ATV and continues to release music and tour as an Indie Artist.

Daphne released her first independent EP Matter of Time in September 2007; in a twist of fate, Vanguard Records head Kevin Welk heard a track on an American Airlines flight. This led to a record deal in 2008 and the release of her second EP, Exhibit A. To record her first full-length album, Daphne headed to the hills of Tennessee. She released What to Say in 2010, which was co-produced by Tim Lauer and Grammy winner Gary Paczosa. Album number two, Because I Can, came out in 2011 and reached the number two spot on iTunes’ Top 40 Singer/Songwriter Chart.

2014’s Live to Try features co-writes with Hunter Davis, Chris Faulk, Angela Lauer, John Oates (of Hall & Oates), Keri Barnes and Tim Lauer, while 2015’s Get It EP kicks off with the track “Done With Bein’ Done,” which Daphne co-wrote with Grammy winner Meghan Trainor.

Thus far, 2016 has been a banner year for Willis. She has released two singles (“Spider in the Roses,” a collaboration with frequent tour mate Sonia Leigh, and “The Struggle is Real,” which advocates mental health awareness) and turned in main stage performances at both LA Pride and Nashville Pride. Website here.

Come Together, is an acoustic EP that re-imagines five classic tracks by The Beatles. As soon as the first song (Eleanor Rigby) began to play, my attention was grabbed. Daphne Willis most certainly re-imagines these songs, with creativity and respect. Whilst we live in a world of remixes these days, I personally think it's a lot tougher to take five classic songs and give them an original take. The acoustic approach allows the original melodies to be heard, Daphne's vocals and arrangements give the songs a really special twist. Very impressive and enjoyable!