Grieving - Smith & Thell - LuckyandLove - Paloma - Hayride Casualties

Grieving - Brian Emo.

Background - Grieving are a new band from Cambridge whose music is not as immediately morbid as their name might suggest. With a nod towards classic Dischord and anthemic late 90’s and early 00’s indie-rock and punk, their debut EP, released last year saw support from the likes of Stereogum, Alt Press, The FADER, DIY and Upset. 4 of those 5 songs went on to see plays at either BBC Radio 1 or 6 through Huw Stephens, Dan P Carter and Tom Ravenscroft.

After short tours with The New Tusk and Tellison and dates with the likes of Sorority Noise and Muncie Girls, the band have spent the first part of this year writing and recently recorded with Bob Cooper (Citizen, Nai Harvest, Self Defense Family) at his Crooked Rain Studios in Leeds. Ahead of a debut album planned for later this year, the band today release the first of these new tracks - Brian Emo - and will follow up with more new material in June / July. Facebook here, Bandcamp here.

We featured Grieving three times in 2016 and with the new song 'Brian Emo' the band continue to impress. Their brand of indie meets punk is oh so, "in your face" and yet just so appealing. Heart and passion in bucket loads!


Smith & Thell - Toast.

Background - Swedish duo Smith & Thell release bluegrass-inspired new single  "Toast" , alongside debut album "Soulprints".

"Toast" is an organic tribute to celebrating all aspects of life, is driven by an arsenal of hand-clapping and choir style vocals. the single is quite personal, an ongoing theme with Smith & Thell - the first verse is Maria singing to her mother about how she must be able to experience joy despite the grief she had to live with throughout her life. The second verse is about Victor's father leaving the family when Victor was only a few years old.

"We’ve spent the past two and a half years working on “Soulprints”. It's not just a collection of twelve songs, it is bits and pieces of ourselves and all the ups and downs we have experienced in life. We dug deep into our past trying to find closure and healing, and realized along the way that in order to heal, we had to accept and embrace our emotions, instead of hiding them. “Soulprints” is a celebration of all the emotions that make us human. This album is a true window into our soul and we are so excited to finally share it with you" - Smith & Thell. 

The pair have emerged as two of the most successful new songwriters and producers out of Sweden during the last year or two. With over 20 gold and platinum records to their name for other artists, and over 200 million streams to date, they have been slated as Sweden's "Of Monsters and Men" equivalent, after releasing upbeat, folky pop singles "Statue" and "Row" last year.Website here, Facebook here.

'Toast' is one of twelve songs on the brand new 'Soulprints' album. This really is a fabulous collection of material that might loosely be described as indie pop. In reality I think it is fair to say the album is considerably more than just that. Comprised of melodic and catchy tracks, where both the vocals and musical arrangements are pristine. A sense of natural passion and commitment is there throughout, to say this pair know how to write a fine song, really is, an understatement.


LuckyandLove - Digging in the Earth.

Background - Los Angeles-based duo LuckyandLove have announced they will release their debut album ‘Lucky + Love’ on June 30. The lead single is ‘Digging in the Earth’, the video for which was directed and edited by cinemaphotographer and animator Steve Barron. 

These 8 electrified tracks were written when bandmates Loren Luck (drums, synths) and April Love (vocals, keyboards, guitar) were living next to a noisy construction site in Glendale, California. Here they successfully incorporate synth-heavy bass with polyphonic harmonies and crystalline vocals, propelling the music into trance-inducing territory.

Inspired by artists such as New Order, OMD, Depeche Mode, Washed Out, Tycho, PJ Harvey and Cocteau Twins, their sound falls beautifully into an everyman’s land between electro rock, dream pop, electronica and synth gaze. Justifiably also described as electrowave or indietronica, this music has, in the words of Loren Luck, “lots of LFO, riveting arpeggiations, simultaneous solos via spacey square waves, with April's smoky vocals”. 

This record is an electronic music record, but comes from a more traditional place, where OMD or Kraftwork came from – one of an unsampled, unprogrammed live recording originally at 192kHz/24-bit quality.

“Musically, as much attention was paid sonically to the organic moog instruments as April’s voice, and we offered the analog synths space in the songs to breathe to their true dynamic potential,” says Loren Luck. Website here, Facebook here.

Taken from the debut album ‘Digging in the Earth’ typifies the rich synthy sounds that exude across the collection. Atmospheric vocals and rhythmic vibes add more, despite the influences cited above, the duo carve out some desirable and distinctive songs with enough originality to claim for themselves.


Paloma - Fish.

Background - Paloma have shared new track "Fish". The band explains that the song is "a simple piece of art dedicated to an old yet valuable friendship, stay tuned for the LA-psych band's forthcoming new EP, Luna, out soon. 

Paloma was born of the struggle to navigate the harrowing societal construct typical of suburban Los Angeles. It is the answer for learning to balance the need to make ends meet while expressing the irrepressible creativity brooding inside. The band officially began in a small bedroom studio with several ideas being deconstructed over and over again as every artist can relate to. It wasn’t until Nick and Victor invited the masterful keyboardist and local legend Steven Doman to the studio that the band finally grasped the scope of their newly created sound. In a place where one’s inherent value is often picked apart according to attributes of wealth and beauty, Paloma is truly an escapist’s musical paradise.

Luna is a (Tim Burton meets the Future of the Malibu) five track EP. The second release from Paloma is a Gothic blend consisting of psychedelic dance grooves with swampy, sad and warm melodies. It’s perfectly confused. The record was deeply influenced by various sounds born in Southern California as well as ‘Around the World’. Paloma draws inspiration from artists such as: Beach House, Daft Punk, The Weeknd, Tame Impala, Pond, Gum, Dumbo Gets Mad, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, The Beatles & Earth Wind and Fire.

"We wanted the record to fully express the feeling of living in California," the band says of the EP, "From the mountains of Malibu driving on Mulholland to the Tents surrounding 6 the street in Downtown LA. Hell, even all the people living in their vans on Lankershim Blvd in North Hollywood. We have love for them all. We (Paloma) produced ‘Luna’ alongside Bob Curtin who engineered, mixed and mastered the record in Simi Valley, CA." Paloma is Victor Martinez, Steven Doman, and Nick Mariotti. Facebook here.

Psychedelic in a more refined manner 'Fish' is an addictive song, where the vocals and rhythm are hard to ignore and an underlying funk feel makes the track even more enticing.


Hayride Casualties - The Catskills Ain't for Sale.

Background - A fresh wave of passion, energy and change is coming - and NYC's Hayride Casualties is at the forefront. Driven and defined by the political and ecological crises of our age, they're taking a stand against climate change, greedy corporations, and political discord. Their single "The Catskills Ain't for Sale" takes on the first battle. The song is a punchy, playful dedication to mountain communities in upstate New York and elsewhere, fighting to protect their home turf from fossil energy extraction and pipeline development.

Despite the tune’s hippie rock spirit, its battle cry is far from drug-induced or aimless. Instead, it delivers a cutting rebuke of the Big Oil and Gas industries’ attempts to coerce disadvantaged rural communities. As the first verse states:

You can offer job creation
You can promise reparations
Your shareholders have been patient
But the Catskills Ain’t for Sale

Momentum builds after the first chorus as a vintage organ and fuzzy lead guitar join in this thoughtfully arranged march for clean water and air. DeWald penned "The Catskills Ain’t for Sale" while volunteering with New York’s anti-fracking groups, part of a larger national movement which gained widespread attention with the help of Josh Fox’s 2010 documentary, Gasland. Although some time has passed since then, the lyrical matter finds itself, in many ways, more relevant than ever. DeWald explains how he's been personally impacted, “I have spent a lot of time in the Catskills, in the Shandoken Valley, and I have close friends up there. When I thought about my friends being bullied by these big corporations, I got really angry. I think the song reflects that.” 

Given the single’s politically charged and controversial subject matter, the vibe is refreshingly lightweight, delivered with a tongue-in-cheek bravado that demonstrates DeWald’s breadth of vocal performance styles. With fierce guitar licks, a driving rock rhythm and focused message, "The Catskills Ain’t For Sale" is a three and half minute fireball for the indie rock listener in search of music that reflects the ecological and political crises of our time.

"The Catskills Ain't for Sale" comes as the first single off Hayride Casualties upcoming release, Fossil Fuel Kid, out June 9, 2017.  It was recorded, mixed and mastered at Behind the Curtains Media studio (link) by Michael Abiuso (formerly The Venetia Fair). A number of guest musicians contributed to the record, including drummer Tim McCoy (Darwin Deez, Field Mouse, formerly Savior Adore) and bassist Chris Bordeaux (formerly The Isles and Rahim). Facebook here.

Spirited vocals and a potent beat drive 'The Catskills Ain't for Sale' forward. With intelligent lyrics and a message that is emphatically delivered, it's very pleasing to note that, the rock'n'roll vibe is also up for the task!