Month: January 2017

New video from Psychic Twin: “Stop In Time”

Dance is the ultimate extension of music and being a dancer and lover of music, nothing makes me happier than seeing musicians take advantage of this. In the recently released video for Pyschic Twin’s track, “Stop In Time”, they feature five stunning, strong and sharp female dancers. Ashley Robicheaux is credited as director and choreographer for the video with Jake Saner as director of photography. Ashely Robicheaux also dances in the video along side Matilda Sakamoto, Ruth Howard, Holly Sass and Rebecca Margolick. Singer/composer, Erin Fein, and drummer/producer/programmer, Rosana Caban, are also featured in the video, playing two shamans who are attempting to freeze time.

The video was released in the days preceeding the incredibly powerful Women’s March that occurred nation-wide. About the video Erin Fein says:

“In light of the upcoming Women’s March, I feel even more proud of this video statement. This is a song specifically about stopping time, poetically. It is about trying to make great and even unthinkable or nearly impossible change occur. The video itself is a beautifully choreographed piece about the strength of women working together. We can do the impossible. We can make great change. When we work together, not even time or dimension can stand in our way.”

 

Catch Psychic Twin touring this spring and purchase their latest release, Strange Diary,  here or on iTunes:

PSYCHIC TWIN TOUR DATES:
Tue-Feb-07     Indianapolis, IN          The Vogue
Wed-Feb-08    Champaign, IL            The Accord
Thu-Feb-09     Cincinatti, OH                        The Woodward Theatre
Fri-Feb-10       Cleveland, OH                        Beachland Ballroom
Sat-Feb-11      Buffalo, NY            Waiting Room
Sun-Feb-12     Burlington, VT            Higher Ground
Mon-Feb-13   Portland, ME          Port City Music Hall
Tue-Feb-14     Northampton, MA     Pearl Street Nightclub
Thu-Feb-16     Morgantown, WV      Mainstage Morgantown
Fri-Feb-17       Carrboro, NC          Cat’s Cradle
Sat-Feb-18      Athens, GA            Live Wire Athens
Mon-Feb-20   Dallas, TX              Granada Theater
Tue-Feb-21     Lawrence, KS             Granada Theater
Wed-Feb-22    Columbia, MO            Blue Note
Thu-Feb-23     St. Louis, MO            Ready Room
Fri-Feb-24       Madison, WI           Majestic Theatre
Sat-Feb-25      Sioux Falls, SD            Icon Lounge
Fri-Mar-10      Santa Ana, CA            The Observatory
Sat-Mar-11     Pomona, CA           The Glass House
Mon-Mar-13  Salt Lake City, UT     The Depot
Tue-Mar-14     Greely, CO            Moxi Theater
Wed-Mar-15   Omaha, NE             Waiting Room
Thu-Mar-16     Fargo, ND              Sanctuary Events Center
Fri-Mar-17       Winnipeg, MB           Pyramid Cabaret
Sat-Mar-18     Saskatoon, SK             Louis Pub
Sun-Mar-19    Edmonton, AB            The Needle Vinyl Tavern
Mon-Mar-20  Calgary, AB            Commonwealth
Wed-Mar-22   Vancouver, BC            Imperial
Thu-Mar-23    Spokane, WA          Knitting Factory
Fri-Mar-24       Seattle, WA           Showbox
Sat-Mar-25     Portland, OR           Roseland Theater
Tue-Mar-28    Petaluma, CA          Mystic Theatre
Wed-Mar-29   Sacramento, CA          Ace of Spades
Thu-Mar-30     Santa Cruz, CA         The Catalyst
Fri-Mar-31       San Luis Obispo, CA                        Fremont Theater

2/07-3/21 w/ STRFKR

 

Thought-provoking single from German/American duo, Kiko King & creativemaze: “Resolution for Solitude”

Kiko King & creativemaze came together coincidentally in 2011 in Berlin. Creativemaze’s experience as an audio engineer lays the foundation for Kiko King’s mind-bending poetic abilities. For their latest record, Gnothi Seauton, the duo linked up with trip-hop mastermind, Tricky.

Melodic piano underlies profound lyricism that gets ripped up, rearranged and reassembled during the chorus. The accompanying video is similarly simple but suddenly deconstructed, offering the listener and viewer a unique musical experience. The official release date for the video is February 3rd but luck for you, you get to check it out early!

 

 

You can find “Resolution for Solitude” and all the other tracks from Gnothi Seauton on iTunes now.

 

New single from Spaceface, “Cowboy Lightning”

Spaceface is a project fronted by Flaming Lips keyboardist, Jake Ingalls. Back in 2011, Ingalls started Spaceface and 6 years later, their debut full length, Sun Kid, is nearing release. The first single off the record titled, “Space Cowboy”, is a far out garage rock jam that is sure to reach out to fans of The Flaming Lips and those who enjoy the new sound that Ingalls has created. Barely over two and a half minutes, the track is packed with funky instrumentals, sweet guitar riffs and spaced out vocals.

 

 

Follow Spaceface on Soundcloud and via their official website.

22 years of silence, a new track by Slowdive emerges: “Star Roving”

The last we’d heard from Slowdive was their record, Pygmalion, from 1995. 19 years later, in 2014, the band announced that they were getting back together. Now in 2017, they re-introduce themselves to new and old generations of fans with their new track, “Star Roving.”

The new single is equally as expansive, cyclical and lush as we remember the sounds of Slowdive to be. They have a way of filling space with sound that is unlike any other.

 

In addition to releasing their new single, Slowdive also announced their signing with Dead Oceans.

Interview: Melissa Bel

Melissa Bel is an incredibly talented singer/songwriter originally from Toronto who know finds herself on the other side of the ocean, still making music. I asked Melissa about how and when music started for her, what she misses most about Toronto and much more.  

 

MFL: I dance/teach dance where I live in Montana. I have to know who that phenomenal dancer is in your music video for “Stay Gone.” 

Melissa Bel (MB): The dancer is Michaela Reichenbach from Toronto. Isn’t she amazing?!?!

 

 

MFL: Now we can talk about your music! You are clearly a performer. There is something so honest and passionate about your voice, and you sing with your whole heart. Where did this truly natural love for music come from?

MB: Music has resonated with me since I was a toddler, and my Mom says I started singing before I could talk, so I kind of think it has been there from the start. I was definitely a performer from an early age…I remember being in daycare and trying to make everyone listen to me sing. I was lucky that my parents really nurtured my passion for music as well. They actually encouraged me not to go to university so I could pursue singing and songwriting. 

 

MFL: Three albums in six years; that’s quite remarkable! How have you been able to sustain that rate of writing, recording and releasing?

MB: Just pure stubbornness I think. And wanting it so badly. There was a 3 and a half year gap between releasing Don’t Forget to Breathe and In the Light because in that time I left the record label I was with and was super confused about the type of music I wanted to make. I was actually so disheartened about my career that I remember thinking I’d never make another album again. Then fate did its thing and I met Justin Gray, who produced In the Light, and over the course of about a year and 2 trips to LA, we wrote and recorded this new album. I was also very fortunate to have funding from a Canadian organization, FACTOR, which helped make the record possible.        

        

MFL: It sounds like your life took an incredible turn after you met the love of your life and moved across the ocean! What are some of the biggest changes you’ve had to get use to as a person and as a musician with the move?

MB: It certainly was an incredible and unexpected turn! The biggest change personally has to be living so far away from my family and friends. I also went from living a very fast-paced, jam-packed-schedule lifestyle to knowing very few people and having no real obligations. It was this strange and wonderful feeling, and it took a few months to stop feeling like I was on vacation! I basically had a clean slate which was exciting, but scary because I went from having steady gigs and lots of contacts in Toronto to starting over as someone totally unknown. It felt a bit like I was 18 again and just starting out; going out to any open mic I could find, shamelessly emailing venues to try and get gigs, busking…but this time I had the advantage of already having been in the business for the last 8 years so I was able to make some traction fairly quickly. 

 

MFL: What do you miss most about living in Toronto?

MB: I miss being a streetcar ride away from my best friend. And the city itself. Toronto has everything you could want basically within walking distance, so sometimes I miss the convenience of it and that big city feel. But I do love the more relaxed pace in Devon, just took some getting used to! 

MFL: I love that video of you playing live at Momentum Studios. Who else was in that video playing and singing along with you and how did that video come about? 

MB: I’d wanted to do an official music video for “Big Boys Don’t Cry” when it came out as a single in the fall, but I didn’t have the financial resources to pull it together. One afternoon during a paddle boarding/brainstorming session with my friend and bandmate Paddy Blight, we had the idea to do this live a cappella version of the song. Can’t believe how lucky I’ve been to meet these amazing musicians who literally came together in a few hours one day to learn, arrange and record this video! We recorded with Josiah Manning at Momentum Studios in Plymouth and had Jeff Walker on bass, Paddy, Elani Evangelou, Alex Hart, and Charlotte Robinson on backing vocals, and the video was filmed and edited by Jake Galvin.

 

MFL: Do you play live often and what are your favorite kinds of venues? 

MB: I’ve been playing about 6-8 live shows a month (fewer right now since it’s January). My favourite kinds of venues are those where people are really there to listen to music and I get to play mostly my own songs. I play my fair share of pubs and restaurants which are all good experience and pay the bills, but having a captive audience is the dream. I’m opening for a fellow Canadian, Joey Landreth of the Bros. Landreth (who is UNREAL) at The Terrace in Exeter on February 5th, so really looking forward to that one!

 

MFL: What do you think some of the biggest differences are between your very first record and your newest record, In the Light?

MB: I think the songwriting has significantly improved and matured (or let’s hope it has considering I wrote most of my first album, Brave, when I was 16 and 17). The sound is also very different. Brave had more of a rock/blues/jazz tone throughout, whereas In the Light is pop/soul and a lot more contemporary. Brave was also recorded with a full band live off the floor, and although In the Light still has live guitar, bass and piano, a lot of the production was programmed.

 

MFL: What is your favorite song on your new record to sing live and why?

MB: When I’m lucky enough to play with a band, my favourite song to perform is probably ‘Real Tonight’ because it has such an awesome groove and melody, and the audience always seems to get into it even if they haven’t heard it before. But usually I’m playing solo, and my favourite is definitely ‘In the Light’ because I get to relive the feeling I had when I wrote it (excited, unbelievable, butterflies-in-your-stomach falling in love).  

 

 MFL: Finally, if I were to put your iPod on shuffle, what is the strangest thing I might hear? 

MB: I have these tracks on there that I sing along to when I do my vocal warmups.  And also lots of worktapes or voice notes of songs in the making. 

 

Thanks to Melissa Bel for answering my questions and to Ellie Sorensen of Badge of Friendship for setting up the interview! Follow Melissa Bel on Facebook and via her website.

Disco-groovy track from Mr. Trophat featuring, Robyn

Anything that Robyn has anything to do with is sure to force even the stiffest body to loosen up and move around. Robyn together with Swedish beat-maker, Mr. Trophat, have created a three track EP called, Trust Me. The EP came out January 13th and features the original drummer from Abba, Per Lindvall, and his brother on bass, David Lindvall.

 

 

You can purchase the EP from Smalltown Supersound and Bandcamp now.

First single from Jens Lekman: “What’s That Perfume You Wear?”

Swedish musician Jens Lekman is set to release his latest album, Life Will See You Now, on February 17th. In contrast to his previous record, I Know What Love Isn’t, the new record is rumored to be more upbeat, full of “disco, calypso, samba and bossa nova.” The perfect introductory track was released earlier this month titled, “What’s That Perfume You Wear?” Lekman thanks Ralph MacDonald for the steel pans sample, which contributes a bulk of the fun rhythmic quality to the song.

The track came with a video produced by Christopher Good who chose to represent love as a vase. About the video/track Good says:

“You’re trying to recreate it but can’t quite get the pieces to fit right anymore; it’s all a jumble now and won’t hold water any longer. A danceable nightmare of heartache.”

Check the video out here:

http://vevo.ly/ISzy6q
Find out more about Jens Lekman on his Facebook page or website.

 

Benefit concerts for Planned Parenthood and ACLU featuring Sharon Van Etten, Beirut, Kevin Morby and more

This week in New York City, a fantastic line up of bands are performing in support of Planned Parenthood and the ACLU. 100% of the proceeds go to these groups. This is an incredible opportunity to support these two charities and to simultaneously enjoy the music of musicians  you may already love or have never heard of.

Here is a playlist that will give you a sampling of the artists that will be there performing:

 

January 18th @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
Sharon Van Etten
Beirut
Daniel Rossen
Kevin Morby
Hand Habits
$40 (tix)

January 19th @ Rough Trade
Helado Negro
Beirut
Daniel Rossen
Kevin Morby
Ruth Garbus
$30 (tix)

 

About Planned Parenthood:
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions.

About The ACLU:
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. Whether it’s achieving full equality for LGBT people, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age of widespread government surveillance, ending mass incarceration, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than 1 million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., to safeguard everyone’s rights.

Interview: Leah Nobel on her “Running in Borrowed Shoes” project

Leah Nobel took on an incredibly bold project and attained incredibly beautiful results. Leah conducted a number of interviews with people from all over the United States and the world. From these interviews, she created the record, Running in Borrowed Shoes. I asked Leah to provide more detail about the project and share with me how this project has changed her. 

 

MFL: How did the idea for Running in Borrowed Shoes come to you and at any point, did you have second thoughts on the project that you took on?

Leah Nobel (LN): The idea for Running In Borrowed Shoes came to me when I took some time to mediate on what I wanted to create next. I knew that I wanted to step outside myself, and open myself up to absorbing something bigger. I knew I wanted to tell a great story, and I knew I wanted it to be a community effort. Once I figured out those things, the idea just reached out and grabbed me. I never had ‘second thoughts’ on the project because after just one interview I already felt fulfilled and I sensed immediately that all of my time and effort would be worth it. Of course, I did have many periods of self- doubt, and fear throughout the process but never ‘second thoughts’.

 

MFL: Do you have any idea how many hours and how many miles went into Running in Borrowed Shoes and when did it all begin?

LN: I am not sure if I am able to calculate hours spent but I can say that this project has completely consumed my life in the best kind of way. The idea for Running in Borrowed Shoes was ‘conceived’ in October 2015 and I began my interview process in November 2015. It took me 11 months to interview 100 people. I recorded all my interviews and went back and listened to them at least once (sometimes several times) in order to transcribe them. There was a lot of scheduling, paperwork, and logistical efforts that were just as time consuming as the interviews, not to mention the time spent writing (my goal was to write 30 songs and I will choose the best ones for the record- and I am still in the writing process!). In terms of ‘miles’- 48 interviews were conducted ‘in person’ in the Nashville area and 62 were done over Skype and FaceTime with people all around the US and internationally.

 

MFL: In what ways has this project changed you as a person or as a musician?

LN: I think my biggest take-away from this project is learning how to be truly empathetic as a person and a writer. I thought I was an empathetic person before, but I realized through this project that I was more sympathetic rather than empathetic. Each time I interviewed someone, I would record it and transcribe it. When I transcribed the interview, I wrote my notes in first person and it’s in that moment that the personal transformation happened within me. I went from saying “I recognize your pain” to “I feel your pain” and that is how I was able to write from a place of authenticity even though I was not writing about my personal experiences. That process also made me hyper aware of how fierce my own judgment is about other people and I now work diligently on looking at all people and situations through an empathetic lens.

 

MFL: Did this experience have any unexpected lessons, events or results?

LN: I’m not sure any of my lessons were ‘unexpected’ as I sensed immediately when I began this endeavor that it would be life-changing. I will say that one of the greatest gifts has been the close relationships with some of my interviewee’s that I have formed. I have made many deep connections and friends through this process.

 

MFL: Besides all of the amazing people you interviewed for Running in Borrowed Shoes, who else is to thank?

LN: My manager for keeping me on track with deadlines, all the people and organizations that helped connect me with interviewee’s, my partner for his patience and support, and if this is allowed- myself! For sticking with a massive undertaking.

 

MFL: Before Running on Borrowed Shoes, where did you draw inspiration for your songwriting material from?

LN: I mostly drew song inspiration from my own life, or the lives of the people I am closest to.

 

MFL: When did music become the focus of your life and how did your upbringing influence who you are as a musician?

LN: Music has been a focus in my life since my sophomore year of college. That’s when I recorded my first EP and that’s when I knew that I wanted to try and do this professionally. In terms of my upbringing, I was not raised in a particularly musical family but I do come from a family of writers. My creativity was always nurtured and celebrated as a child and I believe that’s part of the reason why I have such a healthy relationship with it.

 

MFL: When you look at the future of your musical career, is there anything in particular you want to see?

LN: I’d like to see myself honoring myself at each stage of my life and continuing to do what I feel called to do. I hope I continue to challenge myself creatively and push boundaries. Most importantly I hope that I always have a healthy relationship with music and that it continues to bring me joy.

 

MFL: Tell me about your experience with NPR’s Tiny Desk on the Road Contest. Very exciting!

LN: Last year I submitted a live video of a song that I wrote, “Secret Room” to the NPR Tiny Desk contest and was able to play the Tiny Desk Showcase in Nashville with a handful of other incredible artists. I felt very honored to be chosen for that.  

 

MFL: When and where can we see you live in the coming year?

LN: Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question yet as I have taken a hiatus from performing as I try to finish writing Running In Borrowed Shoes. I am hopeful by mid-year we will have some tour dates on the books.

 

 

 

Thank you to Rich Nardo of 24 West for setting up the interview and to Leah for answering my questions. You can follow Leah on Facebook or check out her website.

Top 5 album picks of 2016

As each year comes to a close, I’m left to reflect on the incredibly rich plethora of music that has graced my ears. This music reaches my ears in many ways. It comes from friends, acquaintances, musicians I’ve never heard of whom I hope to meet and hear live someday, and PR agents from all over the world, to name a few. Just like last year, I reached out to two of my favorite similarly music-adoring fanatical friends: Mark Levy of Bozeman’s own Ranges and Brian Haviland, a decade long friend who still finds time to talk music with me despite our geographical distance, his demanding job and his new (more?) demanding job as a father.

A little late this year but better late than never, here are the top 5 albums (5.5 from Mark because he can never stick to only 5) and the greatest song from each album, according to Deann Snyder (MFL), Mark Levy (Ranges) and Brian Haviland (Alaska-based music-loving smarty pants father).

Here is a playlist of all the favorite tracks as well:

 

Brian Haviland (from favorite to 5th favorite)

1.Teens of Denial by Car Seat Headrest

Fav track: “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales”

2.The Hope Six Demolition Project by PJ Harvey

Fav track: “Orange Monkey

3.Human Performance by Parquet Courts

Fav track: “Human Performance”

4.A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead

Fav track: “Burn the Witch”

5. Next Thing by Frankie Cosmos

Fav track: “If I Had a Dog”

Mark Levy (in no particular order)

1. Hypercaffium Spazzinate by Descendants

Fav track: “Shameless Halo”

2. Magma by Gojira

Fav track: “The Cell”

3.Real by Lydia Loveless

Fav track: “Out on Love”

4.United Crushers by Polica

Fav track: “Someway”

5. The Impossible Kid by Aesop Rock

Fav track: “Blood Sandwich”

5.5 Heaven or Somewhere In Between by Kitten

Fav track: “Knife”

MFL (in no particular order)

1. Beneath a Yellow Moon by I Have a Tribe

Fav track: “La Neige”

2. Jumping the Shark by Alex Cameron

Fav track: “Holding Roses”

3. Dance Sunshine, Dance by Another Juggle

Fav track: “Not Now”

4. Shoo by Lionlimb

Fav track: “Just Because”

5. Feet First by Nive and The Deer Children

Fav track: “Are You Ready”