Month: May 2016

New single from Ian Bern: “It’s Not You”

Young rocker, Ian Bern recently released his debut 7″ which holds the tracks “Enough/It’s Not You”, two distinctly rock n’ roll driven tracks that are already blazing a trail for Bern. His knack for songwriting and obvious ability to construct catchy tracks that are made to be blasted through car speakers with the windows all the way down, is already clear. Bern draws inspiration from rock n’ roll of all kinds and from all decades, creating a style all his own.

Check out the second single on his debut 7″ (which you can buy here via B3SCI Records):

Debut single from soulful singer/songwriter, Ethan Burns: “Homeward”

25 year old LA-based singer/songwriter, Ethan Burns has made a profound entrance to the music scene with his debut single, “Homeward.” Burns’ voice is captivating, mesmerizing and oh so rich; melts me into a puddle on the floor. I hear hints of inspiration from the likes of Leon Bridges, Dan Auerbach and Van Morrsion. With retro soul-inspired sound, Burns’ passion is undeniable in “Homeward” and I can hardly wait to see what he delivers next. Check it out:

EP Review: Australian R&B electronic duo, Hoodlem

If you need some spicy, quirky, sexy electronic R&B in your life, Hoodlem’s got your back. Their new age interpretation of R&B is already turning heads, gaining them positive attention from the likes of NYLON, MTV and Fader to name a few. The Australian electronic duo recently released their debut self-titled EP via Caroline Australia. The EP holds 5 groovy tracks that dim the lights and set the mood.

A highlight for me on the record is “Kintsugi” a gorgeous, swaying, dizzying track inspired by the Japanese art form from which it got its name. Kintsugi is taking something broken and repairing it with gold and Hoodlem applies this art to human beings. Why can’t we put our heart and soul back together with gold?

“IGOTU” is a gloriously shameless R&B shout out to the 90’s while maintaining what makes Hoodlem’s music fresh and unique. It’s danceable but also bedroom-worthy. Then there are songs like “4 Real” which showcases Hoodlem’s ability to create unique, unpredictable, trippy beats.

The EP wraps up with “Old Friend”, a stunning, smooth as honey finish to the EP. This track highlights their diversity as musicians. To me, it’s a stand alone track. It’s the most even track on the entire EP, the easiest to grasp.The vocals are gorgeous, the lyrics tell a familiar story; it’s irresistible.

You can purchase the EP on iTunes now.

 

Title track from Passport to Stockholm’s latest EP: “Better Days”

Following the release of their debut EP in 2015, All at Once, London folk poppers, Passport to Stockholm, have released the latest addition to their collection, the Better Days EP.  Passport to Stockholm creates the kind of music that sweeps you off your feet. Over their short time of existence as a group, band members Barny (Vocals), Tom (Guitar/Loop Pedal Guru),  Mariona (Cello) and Henri (Beats) have developed a knack for creating the kind of music that is truly irresistible and utterly appealing: powerful rhythms, poppy hooks, gorgeous flairs of cello and sing-a-long-worthy choruses.

Check out the title track from their new EP, “Better Days”, fully equipped with hand claps AND group sing-a-longs:

You can purchase the EP on iTunes now.

New single from As He Said: “Get Me Drunk”

As He Said is a Norwegian 4-piece based out of Trondheim who last year gave us the upbeat jazz-pop track, “Parasite” (MFL review here). A couple months ago the band released another single titled, “Get Me Drunk”, a hazy and beautiful track with jazz influences, stunning vocals and a shimmering melody.

Excitingly, the band is heading into Øra Studio this June to begin the recording of their first EP! Stay tuned for more from As He Said.

New single from Steve Gunn’s debut on Matador: “Ancient Jules”

Steven Gunn will be bringing us his debut record on Matador Records this June 3rd. The record, Eyes on the Lines, is a record that celebrates the adventure that is life and rejoices the unknown that around every turn. “Ancient Jules” is the opening cut of Eyes on the Lines and perfectly captures. the fantasy of life on the open road and stars British folk star, Michael Chapman.

You can pre-order Eyes in the Lines via Steve Gunn’s store, Matador Records, Spotify, Google, iTunes AND Amazon. Catch Steve Gunn touring this summer!

Mon. May 30 – Braga, PT @ gnration [tickets]
Tue. May 31 – Lisbon, PT @ ZDB [tickets]
Wed. June 1 – Madrid, ES @ Berlin Café [tickets]
Thu. June 2 – Valencia, ES @ Loco Club [tickets]
Fri. June 3 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound Festival [tickets]
Sun. June 5 – Nimes, FR @ This Is Not A Love Song [tickets]
Thu. June 9 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg [tickets]
Sat. June 11 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo [tickets]
Mon. June 13 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa [tickets] *
Tue. June 14 – Houston, TX @ Rudyard’s [tickets] *
Wed. June 15 – Austin, TX @ Sidewinder [tickets] *
Thu. June 16 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links Deep Ellum [tickets] *
Fri. June 17 – Little Rock, AR @ Stickyz Rock ‘N Roll Chicken Shack [tickets]
Sat. June 18 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway [tickets] *
Sun. June 19 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room [tickets] *
Mon. June 20 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry [tickets] *
Tue. June 21 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club [tickets] *
Thu. June 23 – Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s [tickets] *
Fri. June 24 – Detroit, MI @ Marble Bar [tickets] *
Sat. June 25 – Toronto, ON @ The Great Hall [tickets] *
Sun. June 26 — Montreal, QC @ La Vitrola [tickets] *^
Tue. June 28 – Portsmouth, NH @ 3S Artspace [tickets] *
Wed. June 29 – Allston, MA @ The Great Scott [tickets] *
Thu. June 30 – Port Chester, NY @ Garcia’s [tickets] *
Sat. July 9 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer [tickets] #
Sun. July 10 – Washington, DC @ The Black Cat – Backstage [tickets] #
Mon. July 11 – Charlottesville, VA @ Southern [tickets] #
Tue. July 12 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings [tickets] #
Wed. July 13 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight [tickets] #
Thu. July 14 – Nashville, TN @ Exit / IN [tickets] #
Fri. July 15 – Decatur, GA @ Eddie’s Attic [tickets] #
Sat. July 16 – Birmingham, AL @ Sloss Music & Arts Festival [tickets]
Sun. July 17 – Louisville, KY @ Forecastle [tickets]

* = with Promised Land Sound
# = with Spacin’
^ = with Tim Darcy (of Ought)

Album Review: “Blue Cheese” by Kane Strang

Palatable like the cheese it’s named after, Kane Strang’s latest record, Blue Cheese, packs a creative punch. Despite the fact that the tracks are quick, over in the blink of an eye, their melodies hang around in your brain space, again, like the flavor of the cheese for which the album is named. Psych-pop-garage rocker, Kane Strang, is originally from Dunedin, New Zealand where he wrote his debut full length while house sitting for his folks. This writing environment was similar in a sense to the one which lead to the creation of his demos, A Pebble and a Paper Crane, which was  a WWII bomb shelter in Germany: both lonely places, dripping thick with memories of your past, and others, perhaps a rich source of inspiration and writing material. Within Blue Cheese are mentions of being lonely, moments in which he alludes to this empty space in which he developed the record, both glaringly obvious lyrics like:

I’m a lonely boy, never kissed a blonde (“Never Kissed a Blonde”)

And…

I won’t answer my telephone, sit inside all alone. (“The Web”)

Or more subtle moments where within his lyrics, you can sense the introspection and reflection that came with the fact that he was spending a significant amount of time alone, writing music. In a number of tracks, he seems to be singing to a woman. Whether the mention of this woman in different tracks refers to the same woman, I don’t know but whoever she/they are, they’re on his mind.

Blue Cheese is a deeply satisfying record, it’s like an 11 course meal at a fancy restaurant. Each track is its own dish: small bites of music that satiate but don’t overfill, bursting with unique flavors that are different from each other track but still clearly from the same source.

The record opens with “The Web” with its grungy, growling bass and abrupt finish, immediately followed by a bit of advice from Kane Strang himself in “Things Are Never Simple.” Then comes “Full Moon, Hungry Sun” which opens with a guitar riff that sounds like it could’ve come straight off an album by The Strokes. The moment of similarity disappears as soon as Kane Strang launches into meat of the track, showcasing his distinctive songwriting style.

There’s a certain kind of simplicity to Kane Strang’s music. Back to back tracks “What’s Wrong” and “The Canyon Her River Carved” offer melodic simplicity nested in instrumental complexity. My favorite part of “What’s Wrong” is when at one point in the track, a simple conversation occurs, one which all of us are all too familiar with:

What’s wrong?

Nothing, nothing.

What’s wrong?

Nothing, nothing.

 One of my favorites on the record is “You Think.” It’s my favorite for a lot of reasons: the synthesizer, the lyrics, the insanely catchy melody and the irresistible urge to sing along when the “ba da ba’s” come in. This track is a lot of fun, that’s all that can be said.

Finally, I can’t talk about Blue Cheese without bringing up “Never Kissed A Blonde.” The guitars are ridiculous on this song. It opens sounding like something out of a Scooby Doo episode. You feel like you and the gang are trying to solve the mystery as to why he’s ‘never kissed a blonde’ even though he knows ‘they taste like sugar!’

Blue Cheese is delicious and you can purchase it on iTunes and Bandcamp now (out via Ba Da Bing Records).

 

 

Gorgeous video for “Paidova” by Quilt

Just last week I reviewed the latest record from Quilt, PlazaNestled in the record is the stand alone track, and my favorite on the album, “Padova.” Earlier this week, Quilt released a stunning video for “Padova” directed by Christopher Good and shed light on the meaning behind the track, which you cannot gain by simply listening. The song was written not long after songwriter, Shane Butler’s, mother passed away. It would not be just to try to describe the beauty, sadness and creation of “Padova” in my own words, so here is what Shane had to say:

“This song was written shortly after my mother passed away. It was written in Padova, Italy on a night where we were scheduled to perform there in the courtyard of a beautiful villa-like building on the outskirts of the city. There were old ceramic walls, chandeliers, Italian vines, and horses on the periphery of the property; it was idyllic to say the least. During this period of time, after my mother had passed, I would talk to her every day. Whether it was in imagination or in spirit doesn’t really matter; my experience was the same. That night in Padova my mother and I talkedfor a long time as I took a walk around the property. I then happened to come across an old busted up guitar in a giant wooden room with a chandelier in it, I tuned it to something that would work, and this song came out.
The experience of my mother’s death has not only been of grief, as our culture often solely represents death being. But, in my experience, death has taken on infinite voices. There are voices of beauty, melancholy, humor, rejuvenation, and freedom located in this experience. When talking with Christopher Good about making this video we talked about making a representation of this experience that involved some of these other aspects of death. Christopher has an incredible eye and mind to make abstract narratives, which is what we decided to go with for this video. This scene is only a detail on the vast canvas of representing life’s transition. As there is no finality to this experience, no static way to understand it, we chose to use abstraction, movement, color, and the elements to play with the ideas at hand.

Whether you believe in ‘soul’ business or not I’d like to leave with this quote of Kahlil Gibran’s that I read shortly after my mother passed. I think it is very beautiful and maybe provides a moment to reflect on another possible voice of death”:

 

Death is an ending to the son of
The earth, but to the soul it is
The start, the triumph of life.

 

Quilt is touring in Europe right now but will be back in the states shortly:
Fri. May 27- Hamburg, DE @ Aalhaus
Sat. May 28 – Brugge, BE @ Cactus
Sun. June 5 – Hunter, NY @ Mountain Jam
Sat. June 18 – Dover, DE @ Firefly Music Festival
Thu. June 23 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom w/ Widowspeak
Fri. June 24 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair w/ Widowspeak
Sat. June 25 – Portsmouth, NH @ 3S Artspace w/ Widowspeak
Sun. June 26 – Portland, ME @ Blue
Fri. July 22 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
Sat. July 23 – Detroit, MI @ Mo Pop
Tue. July 26 – Akron, OH @ Musica
Wed. July 27 – Rochester, NY @ Lovin’ Cup
Thu. July 28 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel
Fri. July 29 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry at the Fillmore
Sat. July 30 – York, PA @ Parliament Summer Arts Market
Thu. Sept. 8 – Raleigh, NC @ Hopscotch Music Festival

Intense and beautiful video from Anohni: “Drone Bomb Me”

Anohni is the solo musical project of the singer from Antony and the Johnsons. She recently released her newest record, Hopelessness, an album that addresses topics such as ecocide and drone warfare, on May 6th via Secretly Canadian/Rough Trade. A couple months ago she released a highly intense and emotional video, pain and beauty mixing like oil and water. The video is set to the track, “Drone Bomb Me.” Anohni say this about the track:

“’Drone Bomb Me’ is a love song written from the perspective of a young girl in Afghanistan whose family has been executed by unmanned U.S. drones. She dreams of being annihilated.”

Anohni’s unmistakable voice soars high above what blossoms into an intoxicating electronic dance track, with brutally darkened lyrics. The video features the gorgeous Naomi Campbell and was art directed and style by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy.

 

You can purchase Hopelessness from Anohni, iTunes, Amazon or a local record store.

Anohni tour dates:

Fri. – Mon. May 27, 28, 30, 31 – Sydney, AUS @ Vivid LIVE
Fri. June 17 – Barcelona, ES @ SONAR
Sun. June 26 – Holland, NL @ Down The Rabbit Hole Festival, Holland
Mon. July 4 – Paris, FR @ Day Off Festival
7, 8 July 2016 – London, UK @ Barbican
Tue. July 12 – Ostrava, CZ @ Colors of Ostrava
Fri. July 15 – Turin, IT @ Flowers Festival
Sun. Aug. 7 – Katowice, PL @ Off Festival

New single and album announcement from Jenny Hval: “Female Vampire”

Norwegian sound-maker, Jenny Hval, is not one to leave her listener’s bored or thoughtless. Her creations are deep, complex and layered and within these layers, lies Hval herself. As a musician she puts so much of herself into her music, not caring what others may think, irregardless of what judgement may pass over what intimate part of herself she shares. This is what makes her outlandish interpretation of music so beautiful.

Hval has just announced the release of a new record that’s due to come out on September 30th via Sacred Bones. The record, titled Blood Bitch, is shaping up to be a masterpiece wildly different than her previous releases. According to Hval, Blood Bitch is a reflection of both truth and fiction in her life and is her most personal record to date. Hval had this to say about Blood Bitch:

“Blood Bitch is an investigation of blood. Blood that is shed naturally. The purest and most powerful, yet most trivial, and most terrifying blood: Menstruation. The white and red toilet roll chain which ties together the virgins, the whores, the mothers, the witches, the dreamers, and the lovers….It’s an album of vampires, lunar cycles, sticky choruses, and the smell of warm leaves and winter.”

As a taste of what Hval will be dishing out on her upcoming release, she has given us the single, “Female Vampire”, a smooth and haunting electronic track:

 

You can pre-order Blood Bitch via Bandcamp and catch Hval touring this summer and fall:

Fri. June 3 – Duedingen, CH @ Kilbi Festival
Sat. June 4 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound Fest
Sat. July 16 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Festival
Fri. Aug. 5 – Katowice, PL @ Off Festival
Sun. Sep. 1-4 – Larmer Tree Gardens, UK @ End of the Road
Wed. Sep. 14 – Oslo, NO @ Ultima Festival
Fri. Sep. 30 – New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
Mon. Oct. 17 – Glasgow, UK @ Stereo
Tue. Oct. 18 – Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Wed. Oct. 19 – London, UK @ Oslo
Fri. Oct. 21 – Brussels, BE @ AB
Sat. Oct. 22 – Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere
Mon. Oct. 24 – Luzern, CH @ Suedpol
Wed. Oct. 26 – Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
Thu. Oct. 27 – Amsterdam, NL @ De School
Fri. Oct. 28 – Hamburg, DE @ Kampnagel
Sat. Oct. 29 – Copenhagen, DK @ Jazzhouse
Fri. Nov. 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Resident