debut record

Album Review: “Modern Jukebox” by Of Gentleman and Cowards

Hamilton, Ontario fellows, Of Gentlemen and Cowards, released their debut record, Modern Jukebox, on January 27th of this year. After 7 years together Josh Dawson (bass, vocals), Simon Edwards (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Christian Fedele (lead guitar, vocals), and Jake Warren (drums) are sharing what hard work they’ve been up to.

Modern Jukebox begins with a handful of lighthearted pop tunes that roll by with ease. The album changes tune as it progresses, however. It gains a sense of maturity as new styles are explored and the instrumentation expands. By the time you reach “Make You Mine”, the guys are experimenting with blues and funk.

 

 

Then comes my favorite on the record, “Now That the Love is Gone.” The brass came as such a fantastic surprise. I have to admit I thought I had the album figured out after the first few tracks but the change in mood in “Now That the Love is Gone” was such a beautiful surprise! This kind of diversity within a single record is not only challenging but brave. It’s risky to combine genres within a single record but in doing so, you may increase your breadth of fans!

Altogether, Modern Jukebox is a danceable record that is sure to perk the ears of fans of rock, funk and even blues. The album is out now on Spotify, iTunes and Bandcamp. Follow the band on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and their official website.

 

 

Colorful video from Secret Company: “Alive”

Secret Company is a dynamic pop foursome originally from Chelmsford. The group is set to release their debut record, The World Lit Up and Filled With Colour, March 10th of this year. In advance of their record release, they’ve shared a gorgeous single and video titled, “Alive”, filled with heart thumping drums, soaring vocals and a colorful video to match.

 

 

Follow the group on Facebook and pre-order their debut record on iTunes now.

Album Review: “Beneath a Yellow Moon” by I Have a Tribe

Beneath a Yellow Moon is the debut record from Dublin, Ireland’s always-smiling, heavily-bearded, passionate poet-of-a-musician, Patrick O’Laoghaire. His musical project goes by the name I Have a Tribe and after two EPs, he has released an 11 song full length, heavily decorated with intimate vocals, gorgeous piano and undeniably impassioned lyricism. O’ Laoghaire’s voice is simple but perfectly on pitch, his vibrato fluttering high above. His voice is playful, his Irish accent exposing itself now and then, and his enunciation is immaculate; no word is in question. He speaks like a true poet, his words are the center of his songs and the English language his tool.  His lyrics are sharp, witty, smart and perfectly executed. They are surrounded by building, swirling instrumentals that stack upon each other. Every song ends somewhere higher, somewhere bigger and more beautiful than its beginning. Every track is the song for a separate story. Each song speaks to the listener so individually, as if each one is the theme song to a different short film.

 

o-laoghaire

 

This record took me by complete surprise. After being introduced to his single “Cold Fact”, I was instantly a fan but this song is more subdued than many of the other pieces on his record. So, upon my first listen to Beneath a Yellow Moon, I was shocked by the rich, cinematic composure of every track. The opening cut, “Passage”, is an honest, transparent piece about growing up, being frustrated, throwing in the towel, questioning everything but having no shame and moving on. The following track, “La Neige”, is equally as beautiful. He plays with harmonies, layering husky vocals upon each other, gospel harmonies hang hauntingly in the background amidst O’ Laoghaire’s fantastical instrumental organization. Over and over again he repeats, each time with more fire:
I’m lost for words, when this occurs,

Through the seasons, reveals the reasons.

 The song finishes with one simple, stunning statement:

 Take the right to be human.

If one was to listen to one song on this record to get an idea of who O’ Laoghaire is as a musician, it would be “Battle Hardened Pacifist.” It’s the perfect example of how he plays with his words and how he uses the power of instruments to make them more meaningful. The song rises and falls again and again, taking the listener on what I now understand to be the typical zealous-rich musical ride that O’ Laoghaire creates.

 

 

Then there is the 9 minute ballad, “Casablanca”, in which the cornerstone lyric appropriately is:

Here’s looking at you, kid.

O’ Laoghaire’s voice reaches such a level of passion, it almost completely disappears, a sweet piano melody tinkers along until the very end. In this song and others, you hear traces of the non-musical aspects of playing the piano: the sound of the keys when they are pressed, the pedal creaking. These qualities bring another level of honesty to his music.

This record is an absolutely glorious celebration of music and poetry. They are weaved together in such a way; it is not possible to pull them apart. Beneath a Yellow Moon was released October 14th on Groenland Records and is available for purchase on iTunes and via Groenland Records.

Upbeat debut record from Nottingham band, For the Girl: “Shark Attack”

For the Girl is a group of five talented fellows with an incredible amount of musical energy to offer. The quintet is from Nottingham and on July 8th they releasd their debut EP, Shark Attack. The band is composed of frontman (Sam Plenty), rhythm guitarist (Josh King), lead guitarist (Isaac Hallas) bassist/ synth player (James Wells) and drummer/percussionist (Nathan ‘Foxy’ Fox). The band has been busy touring, including playing shows with Young Kato.

Shark Attack is a conglomeration of five high energy tracks, each featuring a unique but ridiculously catchy chorus and full-on infectious guitar riffs. Each track represents a mix of various genres from pop to alternative rock with a hint of punk and even funk now and then. The EP is a fantastic representation of what these guys have to offer as musicians and I look forward to what the future holds for them!

Check out the single, “Where Did Time Go?” from Shark Attack: 

You can purchase the EP on iTunes now! 

Julia Jacklin is back with a new single/music video: “Leadlight”

The lovely Julia Jacklin who calls the neighborhood of Glebe in Sydney, Australia her home, has announced the release of her debut record titled, Don’t Let the Kids Win. The album is due out on October 7th via Polyvinyl. With her first single, “Pool Party” out already, she has released another beautiful track, a lilting love song with an accompanying video directed by Jacklin and shot in her old high school. Jacklin acts like a young teenage girl, shy, in love, too bashful to speak to the man of her dreams but a fire burns behind her eyes that she unleashes in the end. About the video and track Jacklin says:

I filmed this music video in my old High school hall in the Blue Mountains,” says Jacklin.  “A lot of the shots focus on the stage where I performed in the chorus for ‘Grease’ and ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and the unfortunate time I chose to sing ‘Wonderwall’ to a backing CD for a senior assembly. I went back there recently and saw the hall in a whole new light. When I was at school I never really thought about it, it was just a boring school hall that I was forced to sit in for long assemblies and exams. Now I think it’s actually a really beautiful space.”

 

Check to see if Julia Jacklin will be touring near you:

Aug. 9 – New York, NY @ Berlin (solo)
Aug. 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ Resident (solo)
Aug. 31 – London, UK @ The Lexington
Sept. 1-4 – Vlieland, Netherlands @ Into the Great Wide Open
Sept. 2-4 – Stradbally, Ireland @ Electric Picnic 2016
Sept. 4 – Salisbury, UK @ End of the Road Festival 2016
Sept. 6 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Bar Brooklyn (solo)
Sept. 7 – Oslo, Norway @ Revolver Upstairs (solo)
Sept. 8 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Himmeriget Bar (solo)
Sept. 9 – Berlin, Germany @ Dodo Beach Record Store (solo)
Sept. 10 – Haldern, Germany @ Pop Bar (solo)
Sept. 11 – Belgium, Leffinge Leuren Festival (solo)
Sept. 17 – Ottawa, ON, Canada @ Cityfolk
Sept. 18 – Toronto, ON, Canada @ Toronto Urban Roots Festival
Sept. 20 – Chicago, IL @ Martyrs’ $
Sept. 21 – Madison, WI @ The Frequency
Sept. 22 – Champaign, IL @ Pygmalion Music Festival w/ Freightened Rabbit, Alvvays, Car Seat Headrest & Lucy Dacus
Sept. 23 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom w/ Nada Surf
Sept. 24 – Washington, DC @ DC9 Nightclub $
Sept. 25 – New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom $
Sept. 27 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle $
Sept. 29 – Montreal, QC, Canada @ Divan Orange $
Sept. 30 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott $
Oct. 4 – West Hollywood, CA @ Troubadour $
Oct. 6 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge $
Oct. 7 – Vancouver, BC, Canada @ Biltmore Cabaret $
Oct. 8 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre w/ Okkervil River
Oct. 24 – Berlin, Germany @ Maze
Oct. 25 – Cologne, Germany @ Blue Shell #
Oct. 26 – Munich, Germany @ Unter Deck  #
Oct. 27 – St Gallen, Switzerland @ Palace  #
Oct. 29 – Zwolle, Netherlands @ Let’s Get Lost Festival
Oct. 30 – Brussels, Belgium @ AB Club  #
Oct. 31 – Rotterdam, Netherlands @ Rotown
Nov. 3 – Brighton, England @ The Haunt  #
Nov. 4 – Nottingham, England @  Bodega   #
Nov. 5 – Glasgow, Scotland @ CCA   #
Nov. 6 – Newcastle, England @ The Cluny  #
Nov. 8 – Manchester, England @ Manchester Gorilla  #
Nov. 9 – Bristol, England @ Thekla #
Nov. 10 – London, England @ Koko #
Nov. 11 – Dublin, Ireland @ Grand Social
Nov. 25-27 – Queenscliff, VIC @ Queenscliff Music Festival

New music video from Alex Cameron: “Take Care of Business”

Sydney’s Alex Cameron announced he will be releasing his debut record this August 19th on Secretly Canadian. He has already stunned music lovers with his first single the dance-worthy track, “She’s Mine.” Cameron recently released his latest single, “Take Care of Business” along with another simple but poignant music video. There is an honesty and shamelessness that comes from Cameron when he sings and performs in his own music videos. It translates through the recording and through the lens of the camera, directly to you, the viewer/listener. The result is raw, unadulterated.

Here is what Cameron has to say about himself and Jumping the Shark:

My name is Alex Cameron and I won’t waste your time. You talk about my business partner, Roy Molloy, and me, you’re talking about the online cowboys in the wild-west days of the World Wide Web. If you want to know what we’re really about, the elbow of the whole scenario, just look at all the things you wish you’d done differently. All the things you stopped yourself from doing on account of the fear of failure, or rejection. Weigh that up against your ambitions. Think about your work ethic. We’re reclaiming failure as an act of progress. An act of learning. Something to celebrate.

A word’s meaning can change depending on who utters the thing; and so we present characters – shapes are morphed and stories are delivered. And I’ll be frank – some of my stories got some low themes and some low tragic figures.  Not tragic figures like Hamlet (I ain’t no Willy Shakespeare), but modern tragics.  I got sex addicts, internet addicts, love tragics. I got villains, cheats, violent guys flooded with hormones and false bravado.  They’re all in there. Good stories need em.. Some of these characters do and say things that I never would.  Shameful things.  But that’s what villains do.

This is a collection of 4-minute tales written to provide you with insight into the inner workings of failed ambitions and self-destruction. Unedited, uncensored, and without inhibition. I’ve learned to reveal what I want to unlearn. I cast a light on the darkness and in doing so understand love and compassion. Fear is to be confronted, and to learn strictly requires failure – over and over. Celebrate failure with Jumping The Shark.

I await Cameron’s debut record, Jumping the Shark, with great anticipation. Tour dates below:

Mon. June 20 – Paris, FR @ Trabendo *
Tue June 21 – Cambridge, UK @ Junction *
Wed. June 22 – Liverpool, UK @ East Village Arts Club *
Tue. June 28 – London, UK @ Koko (Sold Out) #
Wed. June 29 – London, UK @ The Waiting Room
Thu. July 7 – Hungary, HU @ Akvárium #
Fri. July 8 – Zagreb, HR @ Mocvara Backyard #
Sat. July 9 – Vienna, AT @ WUK #
Sun. July 10 – Kutna Hora, CZ @ Creepee Teepee Festival
Tue. July 12 – Munich, DE @ Technikum #
Wed. July 13 – Luxembourg, LU @ Rockhal #
Thu. July 14 – Amsterdam, NL @ De School
Sat. July 16 – Saint-Aubin-sur-mer, FR @ Pete The Monkey Festival
Fri. Sep. 9 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West %
Sat. Sep. 10 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In %
Sun. Sep. 11 – Cincinnati, OH @ Woodward Theater %
Mon. Sep. 12 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre %
Wed. Sep. 14 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer %
Thu. Sep. 15 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club %
Sat. Sep. 17 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall %
Sun. Sep. 18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw %
Tue. Sep. 20 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair %

% with Angel Olsen
* with Unknown Mortal Orchestra
# with Mac DeMarco

Stream Yung’s debut record, “A Youthful Dream”, now!

Danish dream punk band, Yung, has already received a great deal of attention since the release of their EP, Alter, last year on Tough Love. Since then, the Aarhus-original four piece has been cooking up a wild and woolly collection of musical centerpieces. With only a few moments to breath on the record, Youthful Dream, is not a bedtime record. Growling vocals and fuzzy guitars encrust what are “youthful dreams.”

The album is streaming on Stereogum right now, will be out officially June 10th on Fat Possum and the band begins their tour in Brussels tomorrow!

June 7th: Brussels, BE @ Atelier
June 8th: Paris, FR @ Mecanique Ondalatoire
June 9th: Guildford, Boileroom
June 10th: Bristol, UK @ Start The Bus
June 11th Manchester, UK @ Fallow Cafe
June 12th: Glasgow, UK @ Nice’n’Sleazy
June 13th: Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
June 14th: London, UK @ Shacklewell Arms
June 16th: Brighton, UK @ Prince Albert
June 17th: Amsterdam, NL @ Black Eye Club (Oedipus Brewery)
July 1st: Toulon, FR  @ Rockorama Festival
July 16th: Haarlem, NL @ Kliko Fest,
July 17th: Leeuwarden, NL @ Welcome To The Village Festival

Pre-order Youthful Dreams from Fat Possum now.

 

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).

 

 

Stream Big Thief’s debut record, “Masterpiece”, now on NPR First Listen

Big Thief is a four piece indie rock band composed of Adrianne Lenker, Buck Meek, James Krivchenia and Max Oleartchik based out of Brooklyn. Their goal as musicians is to break the barrier between you and them, you and their music and ultimately the barrier between all living things. According to the band:

“Listening to Big Thief is like the feeling of looking at a dog and suddenly marveling that it is like you but very not like you; when you are accustomed to looking at a dog and thinking ‘dog’, watching Big Thief is like forgetting the word ‘dog’ and looking at that naked animal and getting much closer to it and how different it is to you.”

Their debut record boldly titled, Masterpiece, is due out May 27th on Saddle Creek but is currently streaming on NPR First Listen. You can pre-order the album Saddle Creek, Bandcamp and iTunes.

Their tour kicks off June 1st:

Wed. June 1 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club w/ Nada Surf, Birds of Youth
Thu. June 2 – Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live w/ Nada Surf, Birds of Youth
Sat. June 4 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club w/ Nada Surf, Birds of Youth
Sun. June 5 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge w/ Sam Evian, Twain, Tiny Hazards
Fri. June 10 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement
Sat. June 11 – St. Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room w/ M. Ward
Sun. June 12 – Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall w/ M. Ward
Mon. June 13 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bluebird w/ M. Ward
Tue. June 14 – Davenport, IA @ Daytrotter w/ Rodrigo Amarante
Wed. June 15 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry w/ Adia Victoria
Thu. June 16 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall w/ M. Ward
Fri. June 17 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater w/ M. Ward
Sat. June 18 – Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory w/ Chastity Belt
Sun. June 19 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel (NxNE FEstival)
Mon. June 20 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Spirit
Thu. June 23 – Brooklyn, NY @ Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
Tue. June 28 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada w/ Kevin Morby
Wed. June 29 – Austin, TX @ Sidewinder w/ Kevin Morby
Fri. July 1 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar w/ Kevin Morby
Sat. July 2 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah w/ Kevin Morby
Fri. Sept. 23 – New York, NY @ Central Park Summerstage w/ Lucius, JD McPherson

 

Debut album from Danish band, Yung, out June 10th

Yung, a dreamy punk-rock band from Aarhus, Denmark, brings us a new single off of their upcoming debut full length, A Youthful Dream. The track, “Child”, decorated with fuzzed out guitars and brass carries a little less pep in it’s step compared to the previous releases, “Pills” and “Uncombed Hair.” The band’rs songwriter, Mikkel Holm said he wrote this track while working on a crop farm last year and explains how it ended up different than other Yung songs:

“When you start playing music you do it for the sake of writing music but when you’re signed to a label there’s commercial pressure. There are good things and bad things about that. One of the good things certainly is that you have to reinvent yourself within or beyond your music, which I tried to do with ‘The Child,’ as it’s a bit different to a lot of Yung songs.”

A Youthful Dream is out on June 10th via Fat Possum and you can catch them touring this summer:

June 7th: Brussels, BE @ Atelier
June 8th: Paris, FR @ Mecanique Ondalatoire
June 9th: Guildford, Boileroom
June 10th: Bristol, UK @ Start The Bus
June 11th Manchester, UK @ Fallow Cafe
June 12th: Glasgow, UK @ Nice’n’Sleazy
June 13th: Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
June 14th: London, UK @ Shacklewell Arms
June 16th: Brighton, UK @ Prince Albert
June 17th: Amsterdam, NL @ Black Eye Club (Oedipus Brewery)
July 1st: Toulon, FR  @ Rockorama Festival
July 16th: Haarlem, NL @ Kliko Fest,
July 17th: Leeuwarden, NL @ Welcome To The Village Festival