Sunday, April 23, 2017

Gorillaz: Saturnz Barz (Spirit House) + We Got The Power + Andromeda + Ascension + Let Me Out


Albarn & Hewlett (Vanity Fair, August 2013)

One of the most anticipated full-lengths of 2017 drops April 28: 'Humanz' is the first Gorillaz album since 2010/11 ('The Fall') from Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, both just turned 49 years old.

Five outstanding songs from Albarn and his co-writers have been released to whet our appetites: "Saturnz Barz", "We Got the Power", "Andromeda", "Ascension" and "Let Me Out".

In addition, Hewlett's superb video Spirit House featuring the virtual animated band members Noodle, Russell Hobbs, Murdoc Niccals and 2-D was published March 23 to accompany "Saturnz Barz".

The 20-track album is a cornucopia of guest performances: Vince Staples, Peven Everett, Popcaan, De La Soul, Grace Jones, D.R.A.M, Anthony Hamilton, Mavis Staples, Pusha T, Benjamin Clementine, and more. The 26-track deluxe version also features Rag 'n' Bone Man, among others. (Nearly all of the contributing artists also co-wrote their respective tracks.)

Summer and fall tour: Fifteen North American dates are on the schedule; many of the shows have sold out. Upcoming: One show at Rough Trade in Brooklyn April 25. Note: The UK 'Demon Dayz' event June 10 in Margate is apparently close to sold out.


https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/humanz-deluxe/id1217911994

http://www.gorillaz.com/tour/

https://www.facebook.com/Gorillaz


















Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bishop Briggs: Dark Side + Fire




The eagerly awaited self-titled debut EP from Sarah McLaughlin aka Bishop Briggs dropped April 14. The six-song collection includes two new outstanding tracks, "Dark Side" and "Fire" from the 24-year-old singer-songwriter.

Born in London to Scottish parents, McLaughlin grew up in Tokyo and Hong Kong with her family, before moving to Los Angeles on her own at age 18. Enrolling in college at the renowned Musicians Institute while doggedly playing small venues for four years plus paid off in 2015 when former Interscope A&R man George Robertson heard her singing one night, an event that led to the debut single "Wild Horses".

2016 was a bona fide pinch-myself-I-must-be-dreaming time for the artist: the hit single "River", opening for Cold Play, recording "So Tied Up" with Cold War Kids, performing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, as well as countless print and video interviews.

Interestingly, in the interview clips, she comes across as a bubbly young woman with a solid Southern California intonation, a persona that contrasts with her less-than-sunny music and lyrics. And then there's that voice: belting like the best of soul/blues/rock greats, yet also at times turning it down several notches for a more spooky-alt vibe, this gifted vocalist has created a highly intriguing sound, one she has stated was essentially developed as early as during her childhood years in Japan. singing karaoke and being a member of a gospel choir.

Today and next weekend Bishop Briggs will be playing at Coachella. On her busy tour schedule are a string of dates the U.S.. She has one gig in Toronto May 3 plus two shows in Australia July 20 & 21.

No proper videos yet for "Dark Side" and "Fire", but here's hoping they're in the works.



https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bishop-briggs-ep/id1224712133

https://www.facebook.com/thatgirlbishop/app/123966167614127/?ref=page_internal








Friday, April 7, 2017

Scarlet Pleasure: Deja Vu


Alexander, Emil, Joachim, March 2017


A video for "Deja Vu", the first single from Danish trio Scarlet Pleasure's next full-length (release date TBA), is out now. Shot in Nice, France by Copenhagen based director Ryan Løkken, the clip has the feel of a baby boomer era 8mm home movie. The track is one of the band's best, with lead singer Emil Goll once again channeling Michael Jackson, a thumping bass and synth bouncing along with his vocals.

A few shows in Denmark are scheduled for November; surprisingly, so far, no summer festival appearances have been announced for Emil, bassist Alexander Malone and drummer Joachim Dencker, but check Songkick or their FB page now and then.

UPDATE April 19: Scarlet Pleasure have just been added to this year´s seven-city Grøn Koncert bill. The popular Danish summer festival tour kicks off in Copenhagen July 20 and likewise wraps up in Copenhagen July 30. All proceeds have for 35 years gone to the Muskelsvindfonden [Muscular Dystrophy Fund].



https://itunes.apple.com/dk/album/deja-vu-single/id1214497777  (iTunes Denmark)

http://www.songkick.com/artists/4793083-scarlet-pleasure/calendar

https://www.facebook.com/scarletpleasure

http://www.ryanlokken.com/






Saturday, April 1, 2017

Allan Rayman: 13 (Verona's Obsession) + 25.22 (The Cage)




Toronto based Allan Rayman dropped his debut full-length 'Hotel Allan' before getting signed to Communion Records (co-founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons); the label released his thirteen-song sophomore album 'Roadhouse 01' February 24.

Two stellar videos were made to accompany the superb tracks "13" and "25.22"; they were given the intriguing titles Verona's Obsession and The Cage, respectively. The first clip was directed by Gabriel Adelman, the second by Steph Verschuren; both are fellow Toronto creatives.

Together, Rayman's haunting music & clips take the listener/viewer to a strange and enticing place, one that might feature a modern era Robert Johnson in a David Lynch film, traveling all the way from the Mississippi Delta to Lost Springs, Wyoming from where the singer-songwriter is said to hail.

The singer-songwriter kicked off a North American tour late last month; he's playing at the Constellation Room in Santa Ana, CA tonight. One summer festival gig Friday July 28 has also been added to the schedule: the three-day Way Home Arts and Music Festival at the Burl's Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, about 40 miles north of Toronto. (On the same bill are top acts such as Frank Ocean, Flume, Imagine Dragons, Schoolboy Q, Rag 'n Bone Man and many more.)



https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/roadhouse-01/id1192893703

https://www.facebook.com/AllanRaymanMusic/app/123966167614127/?ref=page_internal

https://www.dreamsciencefilms.com/

https://www.visualdisco.co/








Sunday, March 19, 2017

REMI: Lose Sleep + For Good + Ode To Ignorance + Livin'


 Sensible J + Remi (third member Dutch stepped out for a moment?)


REMI are an established name in their native Australia and have toured in the UK/continental Europe in the last few years, but the North American market has so far eluded rapper Remi Kolawole, Justin Smith aka Sensible J (drums/production/DJ) and Daniel 'Dutch' Siwes (beats/production). Founded in 2011 as the hip hop collective Run For Your Life, REMI are now part of The House of Beige, the small label started up by Smith and Remi in 2015.

For those in the U.S./Canada and anywhere else in the world who have not yet discovered this superb Melbourne trio, there is much to delve into. I highly recommend taking a couple of hours to listen to the entire two full-length albums 'Divas and Demons' (2016) 'Raw X Infinity' (2014) -  both are utterly outstanding, there is simply not a bad track in the bunch which is exceedingly rare for most albums.

Gigs: Lucky old and new fans in France will have the opportunity to experience REMI next week as well as in April and in June: they have two shows at Comedie Bastille in Paris March 25 + April 29 + June 22 as well as at Theatre de Jeanne in Nantes April 22 and 23.

Hopefully it won't be long before they'll be booked for a big North American tour. Spread the word, people!

I could have easily posted a string of excellent REMI videos, but narrowed it down to four stellar clips: two accompanying "Livin´" and "Ode to Ignorance" from 'Raw X Infinity' plus "Lose Sleep" and "For Good" from 'Divas and Demons'.  (Note: the director links are listed below.)



http://www.remikolawole.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RemiKolawoleMusic/app/123966167614127/?ref=page_internal

https://remi1.bandcamp.com/music

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/divas-and-demons/id1140392675

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/raw-x-infinity-deluxe-edition/id1092759536


http://www.jamnawazdesign.com.au/index.php  ("Lose Sleep" & "Ode to Ignorance" videos)

http://cargocollective.com/ruse    ("For Good" video)

http://michellegracehunder.com/home  ("Livin'" video)












Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hannah Epperson: Story (Amelia) + Shadowless




Hailing from Salt Lake City, singer/violinist Hannah Epperson is now based in Brooklyn. Her debut full-length 'Upsweep' dropped last fall and includes the stellar song "Story (Amelia)". She has also released titles via Bandcamp: the outstanding "Shadowless" can be found on the 2015 two-track EP 'Burn".

NOTE: The 'Upsweep' album is Volume I of a two-volume "exploration in bifurcated songwriting and production." Volume II will be out at the end of this year.

Tour: Epperson has two concerts scheduled in Brooklyn this month: March 9 and 15. Between May 26 and June 15 she will be performing a total of eight shows in Germany and Switzerland, a few of which are festival gigs.

The two excellent accompanying videos suit the intricate sound tapestry weaved by Epperson: "Story" was co-directed by the artist herself and NYC film maker Jake Saner; "Shadowless" was directed by Vancouver film maker Brianne Nord-Stewart.



https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/upsweep/id1140431718

https://hannahepperson.bandcamp.com/album/burn

https://www.facebook.com/hannaheppersonmusic/app/123966167614127/?ref=page_internal

http://www.hannahepperson.ca/

http://www.jakesaner.com

https://nord-stewart.com/






Thursday, March 2, 2017

Charlotte OC: Darkest Hour




Charlotte Mary O'Connor aka Charlotte OC has been poised for stardom for nearly a decade since the age of 18, but it has so far eluded her. Why some artists/bands blow up early in their career and others struggle for years to get wider recognition can seem like a mystery. A lot has to do with being in the right place at the right time, not to mention connecting with the right manager and label. A little luck doesn't hurt either.

After three EPs and a handful of singles, perhaps 2017 will be the year that the Malawian-Indian-Irish, Blackburn, Lancashire native enjoys her definitive breakthrough on the heels of the eleven-track debut full-length 'Careless People' release March 31 on Harvest Records. The acclaimed label dropped the three teaser songs/singles "Blackout" and "Darkest Hour" last year and "Medicine Man" last month.

While all tracks are excellent, a voice as powerful and emotive as that of Charlotte OC doesn't need a three-ring-circus presentation; a simple stage and a spotlight production approach is sufficient. Case in point: the highly polished studio recording of "Darkest Hour" heard in the official glossy video, versus the very simple and lovely clip capturing her raw, utterly fearless, tour de force live performance of the same song in front of a spell bound audience at a low key Sofar Sounds show in London last September.

At this point, the singer-songwriter has a few concert dates scheduled; hopefully she'll favor the aforementioned low key live setting when playing in Berlin March 21 and London April 19.  A summer festival gig has also been announced: (the last!) Secret Garden Party in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire July 20-23.



https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/careless-people/id1202379127

https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteOCOfficial/?ref=page_internal

http://www.songkick.com/artists/6835044-charlotte-oc

http://www.secretgardenparty.com/line-up/