Melby - Course - James Parm - Van Plating - Lisa Gerrard & Jules Maxwell
Stockholm four-piece Melby have constantly been growing since their debut with catchy single 'Human' in 2016. In 2019, the band released their acclaimed debut record 'None of this makes me worry' which was followed by tour dates all over Europe. During the pandemic in 2020, the band have worked on new material in a new way. From these sessions, we've previously heard the prog/psych inspired 'Common Sense', the dreamy but melancholic 'Old Life' and most recently 'Somewhere New', a dynamic track inspired by classical counterpoint composition. Today, the psych-tinged indie pop gem 'Magic' is released.
Are from the band tells us about Magic: "I feel like Swedish culture has a very low tolerance for expressing imagination. Stockholm in particular is a place that demands extreme realism, concrete explanations. This can be really frustrating, and Magic is kind of a free association on that theme, wrapped in a polite, straightforward pop-tune."
On 'Magic', Melby continues to cement their role as one of the most interesting Scandinavian acts around, a band so home and accomplished within their sound that they're now ready to continue to experiment with it without losing their characteristic. The new material was mainly written and straight-away recorded in the studio in close collaboration with producer Alexander Eldefors, this is a completely new way for a band that previously in many cases have toured material for years before recording them.
The band often gets compared to fellow Swedes Dungen and Amason but Melby’s dynamic sound, with influences from folk, psych, indie and pop, stand out. The quartet's light, semi-psychedelic folk pop is led by Matilda Wiezell’s enchanting voice which fits perfectly with Melby’s unique musical landscape - a sound that's been called "otherworldly, and wholly brilliant" by The Line of Best Fit.
The band consists of Wiezell, Are Engen Steinsholm (back-up vocals, guitar), David Jehrlander (bass) and Teo Jernkvist (drums) and formed while living together in a Stockholm shared housing.
===================================================Course - Sixteen.
Chicago based synth/indie/pop group Course released today their nostalgic new single "Sixteen" off their forthcoming debut album A Late Hour (out May 21st). The song debuted on Consequence of Sound along with the accompanying flash fiction short story written by singer/guitarist Jess Robbins.
"While the song is about the mixed emotions that come with the newfound freedoms of adolescence, there's a comparison to be made about the struggles and successes of the last year," stated Consequence. "'This life, this love/Call it crazy, call it dull - but don't call it luck,' sings Robbins over optimistic synths that dance with anticipation."
"Sixteen" follows the release of the band's lead single "Give it All Away." It was featured on Under The Radar who called it "a lush dream pop tapestry."
Comprised of veteran musicians Robbins, Chris Dye (drums), Dan Ingenthron (synth/keys), Mikey Russell (guitar), and Brian Weekly (bass), Course blends diverse aspects of dream-pop, 90's new-wave, alternative, electronic, and indie rock. Drawing on Robbins' indie-folk roots, Course incorporates polished, modern production and lush electronic instrumentation to create songs with a characteristic ethereal-industrial sheen.
Course recorded the bulk of A Late Hour in the desert town of Dripping Springs, TX with producer Dan Duszynski (of Subpop group Loma), who's studio is set up among a series of airstream trailers. Bright but with depth, the album offers a collection of elegantly upbeat reflections on life and love - though not without somber moments. It's an album filled with intricate and sweeping stories - literally. At one point while writing lyrics, Robbins found herself stuck, so she devised another way into the songs: She wrote narrative fictional short stories to accompany and elaborate each track. The stories will be released in a Chapbook along with the record.
James Parm - Doing Time.
Background for the video and superb new album from James - "My brand new album titled The Art of Waiting explores our relationship to the pain of the past, the anxiety of future, regrets and aspirations, and the indescribable beauty of life that often eludes me. An expose on the feelings of tiredness, weariness, and being stuck under the oppressive force of time."
The pensive and melancholic track, "Doing Time," is a lament on the routine and stagnant repetition of modern life, and struggles with self-control. Our obsession with time creates a stale and tedious prison.
Time is an illusion we have created to ensnare ourselves, forfeiting life for security and predictability, believing that the modern world is a machine which uses us for its will and not the other way around.
Waiting is the experience of death in slow motion. Since we have converted the action of living to the passive state of waiting, life is less the Art of Living, and more the Art of Waiting.
Van Plating - The Way Down.
Van Plating wasn’t sure how her self-titled album would be received in 2019 after a nine-year hiatus from music.
After attending Florida Southern College and majoring in violin and voice, Plating spent her 20s immersed in the indie rock scene, playing violin and singing with her band Pemberly (named after the country estate in Pride & Prejudice). The band was poised for success, receiving warm receptions while on tour with the likes of Copeland, The Postmarks, Matt Pond PA, and Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s. Things were going great — until they weren’t. The band broke up and she decided to take some time off. A year turned into three, which turned into six, and before she knew it nearly a decade had passed.
Plating woke up one day and wasn’t sure where she fit in musically anymore. The music business isn’t known for being kind to women after they reach a certain age — and she no longer had a band to blend in with. She knew if she took another shot at it, she would be front and center, and would rise or fall alone. Either way, she knew she wanted to try again, and cast any fears aside.
Plating recently confessed about 2019’s Van Plating, “A year and a half ago, I thought I was going to write a little acoustic record to give to my friends, but that’s not what it turned out to be at all.” Instead, the album took on a life of its own, blossoming into a collection of songs indebted to the confessional folk tradition whilst embracing forward-thinking pop song structures, harkening to celebrated offerings from Lilith Fair icons like Paula Cole, Aimee Mann, Natalie Merchant, and Shawn Colvin. Plating also dipped her toes into the Americana world with songs like “Standing Still” and “Mountain” — both of which received praise from Americana-focused media outlets.
“I was literally in the studio experimenting and trying things,” she recalls. “Where I landed, which has been really cool, is in that Americana world, which I love a lot. And that just sort of happened organically after the record was released. I had a lot of momentum coming into the spring with a festival booked, and a lot of shows were coming in before they all got canceled, and they were good opportunities.”
It was the reception to her new sound that gave her the confidence to lean into a more singer-songwriter vibe on the songs she’s recorded during quarantine.
===================================================Lisa Gerrard & Jules Maxwell - Deshta (Forever).
Dead Can Dance members Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell have teamed up under a new guise with James Chapman (MAPS) to create a studio album, titled ‘Burn’. The record began its journey more than seven years ago, when Lisa met Irish theatre composer Jules Maxwell before working together for the first time. ‘Burn’ is set for release on 7th May 2021 via Atlantic Curve.
Speaking about the origins of the album, Lisa Gerrard explains, “It is with great pleasure that I share this collaboration with Jules Maxwell. Jules and I began our creative journey with Dead Can Dance. We realised that we could connect through improvisation and that musical exploration continues to evolve with this present work.”
Although this record is a new release, its beginnings go all the way back to 2012 during that year’s Dead Can Dance world tour. Originally brought in as a live keyboard player, Jules Maxwell helped create a new song with Lisa Gerrard called ‘Rising Of The Moon’, which was performed as the final encore of each show. By the time the tour finished in Chile in 2013, a strong affinity had begun to develop between the two of them and further opportunities to collaborate with each other resulted over subsequent years.
In 2015, when Maxwell was asked to submit songs for the Bulgarian choir The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices (Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares), he approached Gerrard to co-write material and travelled to Australia to work with her in her home studio. The pair came away with four new songs for that release, as well as the building blocks for this new venture together.
Jules describes the introduction to James Chapman. "About a year later, over dinner in Sofia after a concert by the Bulgarian women, my publisher suggested to me that I work with James Chapman on completing the BURN songs. James had established a sound with his band MAPS, which also had big horizons at its core, and it seemed like an intriguing proposition to me."
With Chapman joining the duo as producer, ideas began to be generated freely and over time a distinct sound for their work began to emerge. Their focus was to create a sound that was both euphoric and compelling, more inventive than what they had worked on separately in the past. From gentle beginnings, each track builds and intensifies, creating a hypnotic experience to listen to from start to finish. With Lisa remaining in Australia, Jules adding his keys and percussion from France, and James bringing new light to the sound from England, the three were literally worlds apart, but those worlds fused in the music.
Recently, Jules Maxwell also released his debut solo album ‘Songs From The Cultural Backwater’, Lisa Gerrard received a Grammy nomination and returned to Dead Can Dance to release the group’s critically praised ninth studio full-length ‘Dionysus’, and James Chapman released MAPS 4th full-length album ‘Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss’.
Stylistically, the new album ‘Burn’ is a diverse mix of electronica, alternative, cinematic soundscape and world music with hints of early Vangelis. Accumulatively, this is a stunning departure for all three of them. Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell’s new album ‘Burn’ will be available as of 7th May 2021 via Atlantic Curve.