Annie Dressner - Andy Frasco - Expanda Fuzz - David Allred - deM atlaS - Leem Of Earth - Johnny Mafia - Alien Hand Syndrome

Annie Dressner - Don't Go / Fades Away.

Since moving from her hometown of New York City to the UK seven years ago, singer-songwriter Annie Dressner has received considerable recognition from her live shows, as well as both her debut album, "Strangers Who Knew Each Other's Names" (2011), her EP "East Twenties" (April 2013). Dressner's second in-studio album with producer Nigel Stonier (Thea Gilmore) will be released today 26 October 2018.

Her songs have been played on Radio 2 and 6 music, among other local BBC radio stations and has been frequently played on the Caffe Nero playlist.

Dressner's songs are delivered with a such conversational ease, it often seems as if she is reading from an intimate letter or a book, set to music. Her straightforward lyrical style, sharp ear for wordplay and crisp, lilting vocals offer listeners a front row seat to her stories, as they take shape above the understated music. She has been compared to an up-tempo Mazzy Star 'Fade Into You,' or Jenny Lewis.

While in New York, Annie played a variety of clubs and bars since 2009, including Rockwood Music Hall, The Living Room, The Bitter End and Brooklyn's Jalopy. Since arriving in the UK, Annie has played at Festivals & venues throughout England, such as the Green Man Festival, Secret Garden Party, Cambridge Folk Festival, Cluny2, O2 Academy Islington, Norwich Arts Centre, Night & Day, and has opened for Emily Barker, Simone Felice, Kirsty McGee, Juan Zelada, Lucy Wainwright Roche & Fossil Collective. She is also one half of The Pollyanna Band (the other half is Polly Paulusma). WEBSITE, BANDCAMP.

Annie Dressner's brand new album 'Broken Into Pieces' is released today and we have a couple of fine songs from the new collection to enjoy, along with a Spotify link to hear it all. With the video for 'Don't Go' we hear a fuller band sound, whilst with 'Fades Away' there is a gentler folk / singer songwriter feeling.

The constant throughout Annie's music is her beautiful vocals and their crisp and notable lyrical delivery, making each song feel really personal. The musical arrangement across the album is simply put, superb. Comprising of eleven tracks, each piece is imaginative and so easy to become immersed within. I also recommend checking out the previous material Annie has released, there is a considerable amount of musical treasure to be discovered there.


Andy Frasco - Up/Down.

With a sound described as “rock fueled by reckless abandonment and a disregard for the rules,” Andy Frasco & the U.N. are back with a much-anticipated and highly addictive new single, “Up/Down.”  A blistering three-minute song about relationships,  “Up/Down” grips your attention from the very first second, with Frasco’s pounding piano riff and Andee Avila’s pulsating drumbeat.

“It’s a song about the mountains and valleys of being in love,” says Frasco. “I find that emotionally draining, bipolar-type relationships are fun to write about. That’s where Up/Down came from.” The band had this to say about the new single, “Probably could of done better, but it’ll do.”

Formed in Los Angeles in 2013, Andy Frasco & the U.N. consists of Frasco (lead vocals, piano), Avila (drums), Shawn Eckels (Guitar), Ernie Chang (Saxophone), and Chris Lorentz (Bass). To date, Andy Frasco & the U.N. has released two studio albums Half a Man (2014), and Happy Bastards (2016). Last year, they released their first live album (CD and DVD) entitled "Songs From The Road" which was recorded in August 2016 at the Tucher Festival in Bamberg, Germany.

The band’s live performances have been described as a “The most fun ever had at a concert. It’s an incredible experience where fans can let go and dance like nobody’s watching.” Since their inception, Andy Frasco & the U.N. have toured the U.S., China, and Europe, and performed at a number of popular festivals, including: Electric Forest, Rock im Ring and Rock Am Park, Summer Camp, Mountain Jam, Jam Cruise and Rock Boat. WEBSITE.  

'Up/Down' is one of those likable songs that pretty much registers straight away. Full of good vibes and exuberance, there is a cheeky disregard for sensibilities within the subject matter, but it's fun and as the band says's "it'll do".


Expanda Fuzz - Cotton Candy Jet Engine (Album).

“It’s like a cotton candy jet engine” - Friend to a friend at Sled Island festival, 2017. First there was the idea to cover a Pink Floyd song. With a female voice. And a lot of layered fuzz distortion. And beats from a sampler. And played at a really, really slow tempo. - That’s how Expanda Fuzz was born.

In the three years since that little brainstorm, the duo has released multiple singles and an EP called ‘Bleuets’, selling out of all vinyl copies. All of their records have been independently released while adhering to a DIY ethic: They write their own songs, record them, shoot/edit their own videos and create stunning artwork for each release. And as you can see on their Bandcamp page, that artwork is like a nightmare wrapped in a pop-art rainbow.

Hailing from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Expanda Fuzz has honed their unique brand of catchy, droney, post-punk songs which has lead to this, their first LP: Cotton Candy Jet Engine. Three tracks have been previously released, but each has been remixed and remastered for the album. Six of the LP tracks are brand new to listeners.

The band has played multiple festivals like Ottawa Explosion, Calgary’s Sled Island, Edmonton’s Up + DT fest, Ottawa’s Megaphono and Halifax’s Pop Explosion. They currently make Ottawa, Ontario, Canada their home base. BANDCAMP.

'Cotton Candy Jet Engine' comprises of nine songs the second of which is 'Ghosts and Flowers' which kicks off in the player below. We've featured Expanda Fuzz a couple of times since their inception, and I have always loved their fuzzy mixture of raw energy and passion. As far as I can tell, their DIY ethic is more about getting it right and having full creative control, that certainly is noticeable with the end result, as is borne out by this fine new album.


David Allred - The Mirror Of Time.

David Allred shares new song The Mirror of Time from his debut album with Erased Tapes titled The Transition — out November 2. Featuring Peter Broderick's beautiful string arrangements and backing vocals, the new single is a contemplative ballad that finds David reflecting on his life and the inevitability of time passing.

Hailing from Loomis, a small town outside of Sacramento, via Portland, Oregon – David worked as a sound engineer and session musician, featuring on multiple recordings by the likes of Birger Olsen, Brigid Mae Power, Brumes, The Beacon Sound Choir, Chantal Acda, Heather Woods Broderick, Jung Body, Masayoshi Fujita, and many more. He quickly found himself touring Europe with Peter Broderick, following last year's collaborative release Find The Ways, and contributing the arresting voice and double bass piece Ahoy to the Erased Tapes 10th anniversary box set 1+1=X; only to return to where he started, Loomis, and finally write and record The Transition as his first full-length statement in just one month.

With the release of The Transition, David Allred takes his place among the classic American songwriting tradition whilst revealing a peculiarity to his storytelling. Isolated and cut off from the outside world, David began unravelling his life and putting it on record. With a double bass in his bedroom and a piano in a church across the street, the stories started to unfold until a set of ten songs came to life. Vignettes and feelings from his own experiences, as well as characters he met along the way, inspired a rich tapestry of stories and melodies.

Winter will hopefully see David return to European shores in support of The Transition. Until then, this full length released November 2nd is the closest we can get to the curious mind of David Allred. BANDCAMP.

'The Mirror Of Time' opens with a gentle and rich sounding piano piece. David Allred's vocals are in perfect alignment as they soulfully accompany and add richness to the song. Add in the beautiful musical arrangement that builds beneath and this becomes a gorgeous and tender song.


deM atlaS - Music Man.

When Joshua Turner was a kid growing up in a dysfunctional home in Minneapolis there were two things that he’d turn to for comfort when his parents fought: the Fugees records he’d listen to on a loop to drown out their conflict and the atlas he’d pore over to pretend he was anywhere else. Today Turner’s all grown up, but his sources of childhood refuge continue to play an integral role in his life. In his spare time he draws maps for fun, and, under the name deM atlaS, he’s composing his emotionally complex hip-hop records aimed at listeners out in the world who are in need of some sonic solace of their own.

His new album Bad Actress is only the latest in a string of releases–including the 9-song EP DWNR that, according to Pitchfork, “splits the difference on 'depressed' and 'party mode.’” In some ways the new work feels like a debut, not just because it’s his first proper LP, but because it represents the culmination of a twisting creative path that Turner’s patiently been following since his teens. He was a poet, a painter, and the frontman for a rock band before he found his space in Minneapolis’s prolific rap scene. Once there, a philosophy of saying yes to any opportunity that passed his way quickly led him from playing shows for nugs of weed to a showcase in front of Rhymesayers CEO Siddiq, and a single recording session with Atmosphere beatmaker Ant that kept going until they’d made almost an entire album together.

The title Bad Actress comes from Turner’s inability to hide his true feelings, and he’s packed the album with unguarded emotions centered around a lifetime of unhealthy relationships, struggles with mental illness, and an indomitable drive to overcome them. Musically it draws from every stage of Turner’s young career, from the high school rock singer to the scruffy DIY-er who self-recorded his Charle Brwn EP while figuring out the basics of Garageband to the confident, versatile vocalist he is today, equally at home crooning and screaming as he is rapping over beats by heavy hitters like Ant and MF DOOM.

From the grime-caked beats to the confessional lyrics to the supercharged guitars laced throughout, Bad Actress is an album that’s deeply rooted in Minneapolis’s singular hip-hop scene, where boom-bap never went out of style and raw honesty still beats flashy materialism. Turner’s soulful singing voice, and his ability to navigate from the acidic Sly Stone funk of “Gratitude” to the acoustic balladry of “Music Man” to the purple-tinged minimalist gospel of “Runnin Back” make it clear that he’s one of the young talents who’s going to author the next chapter in the city’s storied musical history. After all, an atlas isn’t only a collection of maps, but a man who’s strong enough to carry the weight of the whole world on his shoulders. TWITTER.

deM atlaS mixes up his musical styles with er, well with style. Whilst Hip Hop might not be my favourite genre, there is considerably more that that with the new album 'Bad Actress'. As is the case with 'Music Man' the soulful singing is superb and the musical vibe just hypnotic.

In fact having listened to the collection, deM atlaS appears to be able to turn his hand to plenty of different genres with his infectious vocals hard to ignore. A lesson for me on this one, see beyond the musical label, or at least listen for a while.


Leem Of Earth - The Beech Tree's Song.

The four members of Florida band Leem of Earth deliver an expansive, synth influenced sound on their debut, Chapter One. The three song release is a nod to the vibe of the best nineties bands – part romance, part grunge, with the feel of an indie rock video in black and white 35mm film. 

They cite The Innocence Mission, Radiohead, Belly and Sunny Day Real Estate as some of their favorite bands from this period. LM leads and centers the band with her guitar and keys and soft but not-too-sweet vocals. She and the rest of Leem of Earth all have past and current lives in music, so they decided to go simply by initials in the band. Brothers B and N are on guitar and bass, respectively. E plays drums.

Thursday late night recording sessions with producer Jeremy SH Griffith (Johnnyswim, SUNBEARS!) and engineer Chris Taylor brought songs on Chapter One to life. There are moments inspired by 19th century Scottish novelist George MacDonald, as on “The Beech Tree’s Song”. LM quotes a MacDonald poem, her breathy voice mirroring her piano, while the band builds to a forceful, nearly chaotic ending. Other moments drag you into some of LM’s personal space: “When I wasn’t looking, you turned my heart towards you. I wasn’t thinking of being anybody’s love,” she sings on “Southland”, with a wall of shimmering, reverb guitars behind her.

Chapter One works to captures and keep attention – from the nostalgic opening melody on an old Wurlitzer spinet, to the last uplifting outcry of electric guitars, so much is accomplished in the short time span. We hope you’re left wanting more. WEBSITE.

With a distant and soft opening 'The Beech Tree's Song' slowly swings into view. The band power up taking us into another dimension with some lush rock energy. Then the vocals take us even further with their melodic beauty and the choir like harmonies towards the end make this song something of a mini epic.


Johnny Mafia - Ride.

French garage-punk band Johnny Mafia will release its sophomore LP, Princes de l'Amour, on November 9th via Dirty Water Records. Produced by Jim Diamond, its eleven tracks are full of reverb-soaked guitars and a high-octane, grungy low-end, all delivered with a snotty, punk-infused attitude.

The band have just shared the new single "Ride," which features layers of crunchy, fuzzed-out guitars and driving percussion.

Hailing from Sens, France -- a part of the world more known for its wheat and cereal production than in-your-face rock music -- Johnny Mafia draws inspiration from classics like The Ramones, T. Rex, and The Clash as well as contemporary acts like Ty Segall and Wavves. With their explosive sonic attack and ferociously fun energy, they embody a spirit of both the past and present, with a firm foothold in a bright future as a young band ready to conquer the wider world of rock 'n' roll.

The band completed their first-ever North American tour last month, making an appearance at the prestigious FME Festival in Quebec, and has established their reputation as an exciting live band, sharing stages with acts like Parquet Courts, Flat Worms, and Yonatan Gat. BANDCAMP

We featured Johnny Mafia back in June and with the new track 'Ride' we are treated to another thunderous punk meets garage blast of rock and roll, to shake some life into us.


Alien Hand Syndrome - We Will Never See The Stars.

“Radiohead meets Nick Cave meets Bach – all recovering from a panic attack.” Influenced by existentialist literature and musical styles of all kinds (from the Beatles to Nirvana and Radiohead to classical music) Vienna-based musician and songwriter Clemens Engert alias Alien Hand Syndrome creates songs as small pieces of art somewhere between Alternative/Gothic/Noise Rock, Singer-Songwriter structures and classical cello/piano arrangements. 

The musical spectrum of A.H.S. generally goes from parts of innermost fragility to powerful choruses, beautiful melancholic melodies and chaotic noise orgies. Overall A.H.S. puts the main focus on the intensity of feelings, no matter if the sensation is insecurity, alienation, anxiety, love, hope, sadness or pure anger.

With his previous records Alien Hand Syndrome achieved critical acclaim all over the world as well as massive media coverage and radio airplay (especially all across Europe and in North and South America). The singles “A New Day” (2011), “Daniel And The Lions” (2013) and “Summer Of 1816” (2016) were played on radio stations in more than 30 countries.

For his newest production “Tales Of Waking” (release date November 2nd) Alien Hand Syndrome worked with former Muse producer Paul N. Reeve (also Supergrass, The Beta Band and many more). The 6 songs were recorded, produced and mixed in Reeve’s studio in Cornwall, England, and mastered by John Davis (Lana Del Rey, Joy Division, Morrissey etc.) at legendary Metropolis studios. FACEBOOK.

'We Will Never See The Stars' is a grand and dramatic song, where emotion and passion simmer within the vocals, whilst the musical backdrop is intensely epic in nature.