Tuesday, October 17, 2017

City Calm Down: Blame

Melbourne quartet City Calm Down was founded in 2008, but did not release their debut EP 'Movements' until 2012. The full-length 'In a Restless House' followed in 2015. They are currently working on a second album.

The stunning new single "Blame" is paired with a stellar video, shot in the Nevada desert by L.A. based director Sam Kristofski.

Tour: Jack Bourke (vocals), Jeremy Sonnenberg (bass), Lee Armstrong (drums) and Sam Mullaly (keyboards) have five dates between November 23-29: four in the UK and one in Paris.  Between February 2 and 11, the band will be playing five shows in Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Fremantle as part of the annual Laneway Festival.




Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ibeyi: Away Away + Deathless

Naomi & Lisa-Kaindé

22-year-old Paris born twins Naomi Diaz & Lisa-Kaindé Diaz aka Ibeyi (in Yoruba, the language of their Nigerian ancestors, the word means 'twins') have just dropped their second full-length 'Ash' on XL Recordings. The multi-lingual daughters of the late renowned Cuban percussionist Anga Diaz and French-Venezuelan singer Maya Dagnino (now also the duo's manager) once again combine vocals, percussion plus piano, and come up with their own intoxicating, unique sound.

My favorite tracks on the album, the superb "Take Away Away" and "Deathless" (featuring acclaimed saxophonist and L.A. native Kamasi Washington), are accompanied by excellent videos: the first clip gets the playful treatment from Christian Beuchet; for the latter clip, directed by Ed Morris (a frequent collaborator), a more artsy, but no less effective approach was taken.

A tour kicked off September 30 in France and also wraps up in France, March 25.  With more than forty shows this fall and winter in the UK, continental Europe and North America ahead of them, the Diaz sisters would be forgiven for taking some time off when they're done.






Thursday, September 28, 2017

Nelson Can: Break Down Your Walls + Move Forward + Miracle

Danish trio Nelson Can drop their third EP, simply named 'EP3', September 29. Three outstanding singles with accompanying videos are already out: "Break Down Your Walls", "Move Forward" and "Miracle".  

Tour: Bassist Signe SigneSigne, drummer Maria Juntunen and powerhouse vocalist Selina Gin have five shows in Denmark October 5-20 plus eight shows in the UK November 17-27.



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Kllo: Virtue + Nylon

Melbourne duo Kllo aka cousins Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam drop their 12-track debut full-length 'Backwater' on October 20. So far, two songs have been released to whet our appetites:

The bouncy-yet-chill "Virtue" echoes some of the best output on legendary U.S., label Naked Music (Lisa Shaw, Gaelle, Aya, Miguel Migs, Blue Six, etc.).  "Nylon" uses a minimalist approach that is equally enthralling. The outstanding EPs that have come before showcased Kaul's hypnotic vocals and Lam's playful production; the new album looks to be of the same stellar quality.

 A video for "Virtue" was published last month; as of today, there is only an audio clip to go with "Nylon".  Hopefully, a regular video will premiere soon.

Kaul & Lam have a string of shows lined up for October, November and December with dates in the U.S,, the UK, continental Europe and Australia.

NOTE:  Unfortunately, the tour schedule listed on Facebook and Songkick differ somewhat, so be sure to check online for each venue.





Sunday, September 10, 2017

Interview With Sara Grabow

In February, Danish composer-singer-guitarist Sara Grabow (born 1979) self-released her album 'EneRum' [Solitary Space] containing ten beautiful songs that - as is the case with all great music - have universal appeal and thus do not necessarily require the listener to understand the lyrics; it's about the vibe and the sound. Having said that, Grabow happens to be such a skilled lyricist that I find myself wanting to give my non-Danish readers a crash course.

The ten tracks were recorded north of Copenhagen at the centuries old Esrum Abbey, a location chosen specifically for its sublime acoustics. A musical labor of love about Grabow's journey of the past two years and the search for contemplation and tranquility, the songs are also an exploration of sound and tone. The lyrics express longing and pose questions, including "Might music help show us the way?" I believe her flawless album answers this question with a resounding yes.

The Nightfly
At what age did you start writing songs?

Sara Grabow
I remember writing a funny little song at age 7 or so. I still remember it. A song about a pencil and an eraser.

The Nightfly
What came first – singing or playing an instrument?

Sara Grabow.: Singing I guess. When I look at my children today, it’s obvious that singing is a part of  every human being’s life from an early stage - even before talking.

The Nightfly
What is your songwriting process typically like?

Sara Grabow
I wait until there’s a special feeling in my body. I really don’t feel that I am a songwriter. Songwriting to me is not that enjoyable and free anymore. Too much anxiety and too many thoughts: Is it good enough? It destroys my creativity. So I have to wait until it’s really there - the feeling. I have accepted the fact that it can take years. In between, I concentrate on singing and performing and writing poems and stories.

The Nightfly
What and/or who inspires your songwriting?

Sara Grabow
If speaking of writing - not just songwriting - I am inspired by my inner emotional life and development, the nature and silence.

The Nightfly
Which do you enjoy the most: writing, recording or performing?

Sara Grabow
Definitely performing!

The Nightfly
Do you prefer not to label your music in terms of genre?

Sara Grabow

The Nightfly
Do you view your songs as having a specific feminine element and/or woman’s point of view?  

Sara Grabow
My songs are very soft, heart-opening and calming.  Those are feminine energies. If we talk about a balancing alchemy between the masculine and feminine which is often seen in great music artists such as Prince, Madonna and David Bowie - or the classical sensitive songwriter guy - there is a very feminine energy to what I do. But the way I do it is masculine. I play alone and stand strongly with my message, I hold the room with my energy and create a direct contact with my audience when I perform - and I am not afraid to do it. That is masculine, I guess.

The Nightfly
You often perform in churches.  Is this mostly a choice based on the beautiful acoustics in church rooms?

Sara Grabow
Yes, that is the main reason. But I am also very interested in the religious symbols and wisdom. Church rooms hold a treasure of wisdom about the human body, mind and soul that we need to rediscover.

The Nightfly
Do you ever see yourself not creating music?

Sara Grabow
Yes. But I could not see myself without a creative output - it might be writing or painting instead.

The Nightfly
It´s often said that great music is universal.  In your opinion, how vital are lyrics to a song?

Sara Grabow:
I love lyrics and a strong text, but it has never been my first priority. It has always been the feeling, the mood in the song.

The Nightfly
Have you performed outside Denmark, and if not, are there plans to do so?

Sara Grabow: I was playing some small concerts in New York 10 years ago. I have played in the Faroe Islands and in Norway. It would be great fun to play abroad again!

The Nightfly
Unfortunately, few readers outside Scandinavia are likely to be familiar with your father Sebastian (born Knud Torben Grabow Christensen in 1949), one of the most celebrated and beloved songwriters in Denmark. You’ve both recorded his songs as well as performed them live, and have stated in interviews that you are very proud to be his daughter. Has it been a challenge to find your own path as a songwriter in Denmark?

Sara Grabow
Yes, definitely. My album 'EneRum' is about finding my own voice after being in the shadow for years. It has been a long journey, and finally now I am beginning to find my own path and seeing my mission as not only being a songwriter writing in a specific way, but more of a performing artist concentrated around experiencing music together with other people, discovering, listening, sharing.

The Nightfly
All of the ten tracks on your latest EP “EneRum” are stunning. Do you have a personal favorite?

Sara Grabow: 
Til Dagen Svales!

The Nightfly
Tell me a little about each of the ten tracks: 

Sara Grabow:

Fald Ned Engle Små [Fall Down Little Angels]
it's a small song about walking in the forest. Accepting the solitude. Connecting to the trees and nature instead of people.

Fuglene [The Birds]
The birds are a symbol of thoughts flying around, disturbing and distracting. By connecting to a higher wish or intention and by patiently listening, the birds slowly descend and place themselves quietly on my shoulder.

Kære Stille Hjerte [Dear Quiet Heart]
A song about listening to your heart. The heart is always with us. It is our true home. It was written at a time where a large number of immigrants fled from Syria in boats and I thought about this feeling of survival and connecting to your inner values, a feeling which immigrants in a crisis situation must feel quite intensely. In comparison, we live in our safe homes and forget to listen and keep on living our money fixated lives.

Søvnige Øje {Sleepy Eye]
It’s a song about letting go. Here, it is letting go of the soul that flies to the sky during sleep to get nourishment from above. Whether it’s during sleep or when you die - you have to let go to enter the flow.

Lille Atom [Little Atom]
This is my song about micro-macro. And I invite the audience to sing with me on this one to make it obvious how good it feels to sing. When we stimulate our own cells, it affects everything around us, and in the end, if everyone on Earth were singing at the same time, I think we could heal all the wounds we have created on our planet.

Stilhed [Silence]
A melody I wrote to Sanne Tytte Hoffmann Rasmussen's lyrics. She died from cancer last year. Before she died we did some small lectures where she read from her diary about how cancer affected her family, including her three small children and how they prepared for her departure. I played songs that I wrote to her lyrics and this one made it to the album. The lyrics are about embracing the darkness and having a feeling of being home and safe in the dark silence.

Aftentak [Evening Thanks]
I wrote it as an evening prayer to my children at a time they were feeling uncomfortable at bedtime. I suddenly felt like putting it into music and it has been quite popular, even though I have some trouble with using God in my song.

Til Dagen Svales [Until the Day Cools]
The lyrics are from 'The Song of Songs' in the Bible. I picked the words and sentences that spoke to me. It is the most beautiful story of letting go of your loved one. Be patient and humble when it comes to love.

Daglige Brød [Daily Bread]
I haven't played this song live, so I forgot what my intentions are. Hmm, I guess it’s a kind of prayer and a thank-you to my mother and father.

Improvisiation Løgumkloster Kirke [Improvisation, Løgum Abbey, Jutland]
This is quite interesting for me. It is a landscape of sound without words. It is the total devotion to moods, my inner feeling here and now, the acoustics in the room, playing with overtones, singing with the room. This is something I’d like to work more with in the future.

https://itunes.apple.com/dk/album/enerum/id1215738986  (iTunes Denmark)

http://www.saragrabow.dk/kalender/  (tour schedule)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Odette: Watch Me Read You

Born in England, but raised in Sydney to a South African mother and a British jazz pianist, 19-year-old Odette has just dropped her flawless debut single "Watch Me Read You".

The clever video was created by Melbourne based director Josh Harris.

Odette has three gigs lined up in Australia: two shows at the Big Sound Festival in Brisbane September 5 + 6, as well as a performance at the EMI New Music Night in Sydney on October 3.

Hope to see much more from this wonderful new artist.



https://vimeo.com/welcomethemachines  (director)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MOZA: Keep Up + On The Line

Cam Nacson and Toby Chew aka Sydney duo MOZA have a stellar new track and video out. The hyperkinetic clip for "Keep Up" was produced by local company yeahsure, based in Surry Hills.

The spooky video that accompanied the excellent 2016 single "On the Line" was created by Nacson/Chew themselves and starred Australian model/singer Tristyn Lecia.

Shows: None are scheduled at this point.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9neZUQf4Rbg  (Tristyn Lecia)