Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fanny De Aguiar: Sinking Deep

21-year-old Portuguese-Swedish singer-songwriter Fanny de Aguiar hails from Gothenburg, but relocated to Stockholm after coming fifth in Idol 2014 and getting signed to Space Station 12, a new record label founded by Per Gessle of Roxette fame. (The label announced a partnership with BMG Scandinavia earlier this year.)

Her debut single "Sinking Deep" dropped October 7 and the accompanying b/w video was published this week. 

Openly gay and a proud feminist with a distinct fashion style plus killer cheekbones, the artist has 42.9k followers on Instagram. What's important in a musical context however is that she has a stunning voice which is showcased to full effect on "Sinking Deep", a truly gorgeous spine chiller of a song that proves that Roxette - and ABBA - have not lived in vain. (I love the slight Swedish accent when she sings the words "gone" and "more" - very Agnetha/Frida.)

2017 could well turn out to be a banner year for de Aguiar who turns 22 on January 13, but it's going to take a handful of great songs and excellent videos, not to mention extensive touring. Let's hope she, Space Station 12 and BMG are up to the task.  (iTunes Australia)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Jamie Lidell: Walk Right Back

Jamie Lidell dropped his seventh full-length 'Building a Beginning' October 14.  It's his second album since relocating from NYC to Nashville in 2012, the same year he married longtime girlfriend, photographer Lindsey Rome who did the excellent double mug shot of hubby above. Rome is also credited as co-lyricist on the fourteen songs celebrating their marital bliss and toddler son Julian.

Outstanding lead single "Walk Right Back" sounds as if someone discovered a superb Hall & Oates track in a vault somewhere and did a stellar remix job on it.

The accompanying trippy video was created by Swedish animator, illustrator and graphic designer Leolyxxx.

The 43-year-old Brit and his band The Royal Pharaohs kicked off their continental Europe/UK fall tour in Barcelona this week. They will be headlining all of the scheduled shows, but will be finishing the tour at the five-day Ahoi Festival in Linz, Austria on November 4.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Cameron Bloomfield: Talk

I'm going to make it short and sweet today.

London singer-songwriter Cameron Bloomfield performed a gorgeous new tune "Talk" back in July as part of the ongoing concert series Sofar (Songs From a Room).

"Talk" has not been released yet, but two older songs of his are available on Bandcamp: "Lost" (original) and "Juicy" (cover).

Monday, October 3, 2016

Ivan Ave: Free Shit + I Do + The Circle

27-year-old rapper Eivind Ƙygarden aka Ivan Ave grew up in the famed Telemark county in north-eastern Norway, but is now firmly based in Oslo where he works as a grade school teacher and is part of the creative collective Mutual Intentions. Who says you can't be a superhero both day and night?

After collaborating with Norwegian producer/DJ Fredfades on several stellar albums, Ivan Ave released his debut solo full-length in early 2016 on German label Jakarta Records. The eleven outstanding tracks on 'Helping Hands' were produced by Mndsgn who will also be producing the next album.

The sublime "Free Shit" as well as the outstanding "I Do" (Featuring Nanna B.), and "The Circle" all showcase Ivan Ave's superb voice and style to great effect.

The videos leave something to be desired,  but they do possess a certain DIY charm.

The artist played a number of solo, supportive and festival shows in the UK and continental Europe this year, but currently there are no gigs listed on Facebook or on Songkick.

NOTE: I blogged about Mndsgn last week:

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mndsgn: Cosmic Perspective Intro + Cosmic Perspective

Beginning in 2009, rural South New Jersey-raised Filipino-American producer Ringgo Ancheta aka Mndsgn [pronounced 'mind design'] put out a handful of excellent solo and collaborative EPs and mixtapes before signing with renowned L.A. label Stones Throw Records in 2014. His debut studio full-length 'Yawn Zen' was released that same year. This month he dropped his second studio album 'Body Wash' consisting of 16 tracks, including the superb "Cosmic Perspective". 

Two accompanying videos have been published, both of which include frustratingly familiar aspects of Los Angeles: homelessness and wacky gurus. However, by adding a sci-fi theme and plenty of camp, the clips become more than palatable. They were directed and edited by Eric Coleman. (Mndsgn co-created and co-produced along with girlfriend Alima Jennings and Shane Sakanoi.)

A few shows are coming up next month: October 14 in Denver and October 20 in Philadelphia. (Also on the bill in Denver is Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf aka Chris Manak. The label celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Tribute To Skateboarding: Brett Novak & Kilian Martin

I've long been a fan of skateboarding and surfing, both of which are such a huge part of the unique Southern California culture and vibe. Thus it was a thrill to come across an outstanding video on YouTube featuring renowned Madrid-born-and-raised skater Kilian Martin, directed by established Los Angeles based filmmaker Brett Novak, also a skater himself.

Altered Route was shot at the defunct Lake Dolores Waterpark in the Mojave Desert in 2012 and makes great use of the location. Not surprisingly, the place has been a favorite haunt of vandals and thieves since the permanent closing of the park in 2004; still, it retains a strange, surreal beauty.

Novak has directed several Kilian Martin videos and every one of them is as stunning and poetic as Altered Route: my favorites are Searching Sirocco (2015) and India Within (2013).

Note: Be sure to check out Novak's YouTube channel for his other stellar skater films.

The music chosen for the three clips fits perfectly with the images:

Altered Route: Patrick Watson
Searching Sirocco: also Patrick Watson
India Within: Other Lives

Friday, September 16, 2016

Coldplay: Midnight (Dedicated to India)

India, March 7, 2006 - September 15, 2016   R.I.P.

My brother and his family north of Copenhagen said goodbye to their beloved dog India yesterday. An extraordinarily beautiful and sweet tempered tricolor Cavalier King Charles spaniel, she was loved, treasured and enjoyed a very good life.

Man's best friend indeed, a dog is truly a most remarkable animal, giving back ten-fold the love it receives. If you have the time and affection a dog richly deserves, the years spent with a canine companion will be some of the best of your life.

I chose "Midnight" by Coldplay for this post simply because it's a hauntingly beautiful song that is matched by the superb video created by filmmaker Mary Wigmore.  The track is from the band's 2014 album "Ghost Stories".