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).