Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Luke James: Strawberry Vapors

HAPPY NEW YEAR to my lovely readers around the world!!!!!!!  (one hundred countries and counting). Thank you for taking the time to "tune in" and read The Nightfly music blog.  May your 2014 be filled with...Strawberry Vapors?!

29-year-old New Orleans native Luke James is getting high on love in his new clip, published earlier this month. James has the voice, the songs and the videos to make it big.  Beyoncé even chose him to open for her on the big 'Mrs. Carter' tour this year. But for some reason the word is not getting out there to the extent that you'd think. If that were the case, his videos for example would have a far higher view count on YouTube. This could be a label and/or manager issue; it often is, but it's difficult to know.

Here's hoping that all the talented folks out there get their breakthrough in 2014, be it Luke James or the busker singing in the New York subway.

I first blogged about James back in June after hearing his superb track "I.O.U":


PHOTO NOTE: New Year's Eve fireworks by the RMS Queen Mary, now permanently moored here in Long Beach where it functions as a museum/tourist attraction. The stately ship made one thousand trips between 1936 and 1967, primarily across the North Atlantic (Southampton, England-New York City.)


Friday, December 27, 2013

Twelve Favorite Tracks/Videos Posted In 2013

It's almost 2014 and thus time for me to pick some favorites from 2013.

NOTE 1: Not all clips were uploaded to YouTube in 2013, but they may have been the most recent music video from the band/artist at the time of my post.
NOTE 2: This is not a 'Best of 2013' list, but simply twelve personal faves.


Darkness Falls: The Void



James Blake: Retrograde



Daughter: Still



Outlandish: A Mind Full of Whispers



Lianne La Havas: Elusive



marstal:lidell: Icicles Melting



Laura Mvula: She



The Holidays: Voices Drifting



Bon Homme (Featuring Lydmor): Daybreaker



Polica: Warrior Lord



Midlake: Antiphon



London Grammar: Strong


Monday, December 23, 2013

Jamestown Revival: Medicine

Texas childhood friends Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance formed Jamestown Revival in 2010 after feeling frustrated with their respective solo careers. Their first EP 'Knives and Pipes" was released in 2011 and was followed up with 'The California EP' in October of this year (the four songs on that EP were recorded in a mountain cabin in Utah and a mini-documentary on the subject will be released in the new year.)

A string of North American gigs begin and end in Los Angeles, their current home base: January 14 at the Hotel Café + March 5 at the Troubadour. (All except two shows on this tour also have The Wild Feathers and Saints of Valory on the bill.)

The gorgeous video for "Medicine" was shot by frequent collaborator and fellow Texan Paul Pryor who was brought along for a tour in the Northwest. The song was one among three pre-view tracks uploaded on the duo's Bandcamp page in May.

NOTE: A free download of "Fur Coat Blues" from "The California EP" is available from their official site as well as their Facebook page.





Thursday, December 19, 2013

London Grammar: Nightcall + Strong

UK trio London Grammar was founded in Nottingham in 2009, but it wasn't until they uploaded the track "Hey Now" to the web last December that things began to happen, and very quickly. The EP 'Metal and Dust' was released in February of this year and the debut full-length 'If You Wait' followed in September.

Two excellent videos were published this year to accompany the tracks "Strong" and "Nightfall'.

Singer Hannah Reid, guitarist Dan Rothman and multi-instrumentalist Dot Major (left in photo above) have a busy tour schedule ahead:

Australia December 28-January 10
NYC: January 15-16
The UK: January 28-February 17
Continental Europe: February 25-March 3
North America: March 11-April 14

Note: They will also be doing a festival gig in St. Gallen, Switzerland on June 26.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Davidge: Slo Light (Featuring Stephonik Youth)

51-year-old British composer/producer/sonic wizard Neil Davidge is most famous for his stellar work with Massive Attack, but in 2010 he set up his own studio and began production of his debut solo album; he will use only his last name as artist moniker.  'Slo Light' drops on February 25 and will feature various vocalists, including Stephonik Youth of Brooklyn band Living Days whose gorgeous vocals are perfectly suited to the stunning title track.

A trailer video for the album has been published, but you'll have to visit Neil Davidge's SoundCloud page to listen to the full track. (unfortunately, at this point it is not possible to embed the track and so I was not able to post the Soundcloud widget for the song)


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kim Cesarion: Undressed

Born and raised in Stockholm, of Swedish-Greek and Guadeloupean parentage and from a very musical family, 23-year-old singer Kim Cesarion discovered his vocal talent in high school after already mastering the violin, viola, upright bass and piano. At age 20 he connected with Icelandic/Swedish songwriter-producer Arnthor Birgisson and the two began working on songs with several other writers. The result was the track "Undressed" which will be included on his debut full-length; the album was due for a 2013 release but has been postponed to the new year.

The single version of "Undressed" is a decent pop/R&B track, but Cesarion's vocals are practically buried in the overkill mix. Thankfully, someone had the great idea to let him do a stripped down live version with an exellent band and it is here that he gets to truly showcase his outstanding voice. The sublime result of the live session makes one wish that the upcoming album be comprised of similar stellar arrangements that echo those of his idol D'Angelo whom Cesarion saw in concert in Stockholm at the age of eleven.

He has two shows this weekend: Friday he'll be at the Koncerthuset in Copenhagen, Denmark and Saturday at KB in Malmo, Sweden. No doubt there will be a European tour in 2014 when the debut album is out, possibly also a U.S. tour at some point.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Clean Bandit: Rather Be + Dust Clears

UK collective Clean Bandit published a creepy-fun new video today for the stellar track "Rather Be" featuring Jess Glynne on vocals to be released on January 27 on Atlantic Records.

They have five gigs in December including two shows this weekend in London.


Video # 2: "Dust Clears" is from the EP of the same name, released in July.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Death Has No Dominion: Harvest

Bjarke Niemann,  lead vocalist in Danish band Spleen United has teamed up with Rasmus Bak of Copenhagen design company Libertine - Libertine for the project Death Has No Dominion.

An album will drop next year and the outstanding teaser single "Harvest' has been released along with a video that was shot in various Southern California locations, including Joshua Tree.



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Lucy Love: Take Me Back + Prison

Lucy Love was born Lucy Siame in 1985 in Zambia to an English mother and a Zambian father who moved to Copenhagen when she was two years old.  In 2009 she released her debut album 'Superbillion' and followed it up with 'Kilo' in 2010.

Despite battling depression and anxiety for the past three years Love managed to record material for a new album: 'Desperate Days of Dynamite' dropped in September and two visually arresting videos have been released so far for the excellent tracks 'Prison' and 'Take Me Back'. Both clips were directed and edited by the artist herself.

Love has three shows coming up in Denmark next month and will be at the big Danish NorthSide Festival held in Århus, Jutland in June (not to be confused with the Northside Festival held in Brooklyn every year, also in June.)



Friday, November 22, 2013

Lana Del Rey: National Anthem

The haunting video accompanying Lana Del Rey's stellar song "National Anthem" from her 2012 album 'Born To Die" captures both the glamour and the tragedy far better than the countless books and articles published to mark the anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

The 7:49 minute long clip, directed by Anthony Mandler with a concept and treatment by Del Rey, has her playing both Marilyn Monroe and Jaqueline Kennedy, with the charismatic ASAP Rocky standing in for JFK.

NOTE: Del Rey's 30-minute film 'Tropico' will debut on Vevo December 5.



Monday, November 18, 2013

Street Light: Drowning + I'm On One

Born Christian Grace in Detroit almost 22 years ago, Street Light has been recording since the age of twelve, and has so far released two albums, four mixtapes and a staggering amount of videos.

Now based in Los Angeles, he is currently working on a full-length entitled 'Dark Summer'.  Close to $3000 for recording, mixing, mastering, videos and publicity were raised through crowdfunding; the rest is coming out of the artist's own pocket.  His effortless flow and clever word play are generating a buzz that will no doubt result in big things happening in the new year.

Video 1: "Drowning", from the upcoming album 'Dark Summer.'
Video 2:  "I'm On One", from the 2011 'Blackout' mixtape.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Erasure: Gaudete

The very prolific British duo Erasure - legendary Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yazoo aka Yaz, The Assembly) and Andy Bell - have been together for almost three decades: not a bad run.

This time around they decided to release a holiday collection of standards, traditionals as well as a few original tunes with such sunny titles as "Blood on the Snow" and "There'll Be No Tomorrow"; the album entitled 'Snow Globe' dropped this week. The first single "Gaudete" is a medieval Latin carol; the video, complete with creepy hooded monk puppets, was produced by the animation teams behind Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Midlake: Antiphon

After frontman Tim Smith's decision to leave a year ago, Texas band Midlake didn't have a nervous breakdown that included drunk dialing the ex. Instead they wisely started over by adding two members, writing brand new material, having guitarist Eric Pulido take over as lead vocalist, and changing their sound.

Their new album 'Autophon' dropped worldwide November 5: the title track is a delicious Pink Floyd-meets-Crosby Stills & Nash concoction with a great hot mess of a video to go with it.

Their tour schedule is a busy one. November and December: North America, February: UK and Ireland, March: continental Europe. First show is tonight in Philadelphia.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Joni Mitchell: Song For Sharon (Live)

With David Crosby at Cass Elliots's house in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, Feb. 1968

Joni Mitchell turns 70 today.  I've chosen a stellar live version of "Song for Sharon" from her 1976 album 'Hejira' to celebrate the Canadian singer-songwriter whose music, lyrics, persona and life story continue to inspire people.

The performance was taped at the Warner Brothers Lot in Burbank, California in May of 1998 for the 'Painting with Words and Music' pay-per-view TV special.  Musicians around Joni, left to right: Greg Liesz, Larry Klein, Brian Blade.

Highly recommended: the outstanding 2003 documentary 'A Woman of Heart and Mind' which includes interviews with Joni herself:

http://vimeo.com/20279550  (with Spanish subtitles)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Jenny Wilson: The Future

38-year-old Stockholm based dynamo Jenny Wilson drops her new album 'Demand The Impossible!' on November 6.  The title is taken from the graffiti "Be realistic - Demand the impossible!" which originated during the 1968 student protests in Paris. Seeing a parallel to her own fight against breast cancer, the slogan greatly inspired and energized the singer to write her latest collection of songs.

Wilson co-founded her first band First Floor Power with her sister and a couple of friends in 1997. Following a collaboration with Swedish band The Knife in 2003, she released her first solo album 'Love And Youth' in 2005. A second solo full-length 'Hardships!' came out in 2009. After her 2010 cancer diagnosis and first round of treatments, she released the 2011 double album 'BLAZING'.  Over the years she has also found the time and energy to write a score for a play, collaborate with a film maker as well as a gospel choir, raise two sons and take in the stray dog Maja.

The powerful clip that accompanies the single "The Future" was put together by Wilson and her frequent filmmaker partner Daniel Wirtberg.

Four shows for November and December were announced on her Facebook page last month:

Nov. 11  Østre Gasværk, Copenhagen (part of the CPH: DOX international documentary festival)
Nov. 22  Popup Festival,Vaasa
Nov. 30  Berns, Stockholm
Dec.   6  Babel, Malmö


http://vimeo.com/album/2159084  (director Daniel Wirtberg)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I See MONSTAS: Evolution

Just in time for Halloween, London based trio I See MONSTAS, formerly MONSTA, released their second EP 'Evolution' on October 21. The stellar title track showcases singer Skaar's outstanding vocals which here call to mind Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant if he decided to time travel and dabble in techno.

The excellent nightmarish video has a nice man-in-the-mirror twist at the end.

They have four gigs coming up in the UK plus two in continental Europe: the mini tour kicks off with a show in Manchester tomorrow Thursday. There are also five dates scheduled in Australia in March.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

White Denim: Pretty Green

Austin, Texas band White Denim drop their sixth full-length studio album 'Corsicana Lemonade' on October 29; a very trippy video was made to accompany the track "Pretty Green".

The quartet is currently touring: there are two dates in L.A. Oct. 29 and 30 plus one in San Francisco Oct. 31.  Ten shows (some already sold out) are scheduled for November 12-24 in continental Europe and the UK.  Late December/early January they'll be playing a few gigs in Australia, including several at the Falls Fest.


NOTE: I would like to dedicate White Denim's excellent song to the legendary Lou Reed who passed away today at age 71. I have a feeling he would appreciate the track and the video. One thing is for sure: Velvet Underground is the most ingenious band name in rock history. (Brian Eno famously stated that while the first Velvet Underground album may have sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.")

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

4 Guys From The Future: Nothing To Say + You Don't Know What You're Doing

Two videos were published last month to accompany the opening track "You Don't Know What You're Doing" as well as the first single "Nothing To Say" from 'Adagio', the second full-length from Copenhagen band 4 Guys From The Future.  The album drops on October 28.

There is a release party at Musiksmag in Nørrebro on Saturday Oct. 26, followed by two shows the first week of December: Dec. 5 at Radar in Århus and Dec. 6 at famed Christiania venue Loppen.

"Nothing To Say" was directed by Lasse Smith and can be viewed with or without 3D glasses.
"You Don't Know What You're Doing" was directed by Louie McPherson and Stefan Björklund.

Jannis Noya Makrigiannis, frontman in Danish band Choir Of Young Believers plays 12-string guitar on the outstanding "Nothing To Say." 



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Polica: Warrior Lord + Lay Your Cards Out + Dark Star

Minneapolis band Polica drop their second full-length 'Shulamith' October 22.  A gorgeous video for the stellar single 'Warrior Lord" was published this month; it was co-directed by Isaac Gale and David Jensen.

Their North American tour runs from October 31 through December 7; the UK/continental Europe tour kicks off in Stockholm on January 22 and wraps up in London on February 12.

The outstanding live version of "Dark Star" proves that concert goers have much to look forward to.



NOTES on videos below:
"Warrior Lord" was directed by Isaac Gale and David Jensen
"Lay Your Cards Out" and "Dark Star" are off the debut album 'Give You The Ghost'

Friday, October 11, 2013

Denai Moore: The Lake

19-year-old Jamaica-born, London-based singer-songwriter Denai Moore released the four-track EP 'Saudade' in March of this year and word began to spread. Her second EP 'The Lake' drops November 4; the stunning title single is out now.

Moore has several shows lined up this month and next month, most of them opening for other artists, but I doubt it will be long before she will be headlining extensively in the UK and abroad. Hopefully, a full-length will be released in the new year as well as some good videos.



Monday, October 7, 2013

Augustines: Cruel City + Juarez + Book Of James + Chapel Song

Today Brooklyn trio Augustines published the video for the stellar teaser single "Cruel City" from their self-titled second album which drops January 21.  The clip was shot in London and was directed by Bryan Schlam.

Drummer Rob Allen, singer/guitarist Billy McCarthy and multi-instrumentalist Eric Sanderson are currently touring North America with Scottish quintet Frightened Rabbit; final stop is Washington D.C. on October 29.


The excellent videos 2, 3 and 4 accompany "Juarez", "Book of James" and "Chapel Song", three outstanding tracks from their highly acclaimed 2011 debut album 'Rise Ye Sunken Ships'.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Drake: Too Much (Featuring Sampha, Live On Late Night With Jimmy Fallon)

I first became familiar with London based singer-songwriter-producer Sampha a year ago when I posted a video he did with Jessie Ware and thus recognized him as Drake took the stage on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on September 13.  Their outstanding performance of "Too Much" from Drake's new album 'Nothing Was The Same' featured Sampha on piano and vocals and is a perfect example of how rap and soul/R&B can be blended seamlessly, sublimely. It also goes to show that the live version of a song is often superior to the recorded version, even if the latter is quite good, as is the case with this track.

Drake begins his long string of North American 'Would You Like A Tour' concerts in Pittsburg on October 18 and wraps things up in Auburn Hills on December 16.  Special guests are Miguel and Future, big names in their own right.  (No word on whether Sampha will be appearing.)



Jessie Ware and Sampha clip:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hannah Cohen: Sunrise + The Crying Game + Don't Say

A huge amount of music and videos is released every day of the week; it can be hard to catch up, and invariably things slip beneath the radar of even the most attuned bloggers (and music fans in general.)  Until today, such was the case with Hannah Cohen whom I might never have heard about were it not for a write-up in the latest issue (October) of Vogue, the only monthly I buy off the newsstand apart from Vanity Fair, another superb magazine that makes it a point to spotlight up-and-coming music artists.

The 26-year-old San Francisco born singer-songwriter, daughter of jazz drummer Myron Cohen and from a highly creative family over all, left for NYC as a teenager to work as a professional fashion model after being spotted following soccer practice. Immersing herself in the local music and art scene, she began writing songs and doing photography/videos, eventually performing at The Village Vanguard and seeing her visual work published.

Last year her full-length debut 'Child Bride' was released on UK label Bella Union, founded by Cocteau Twins members Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie in 1997.  The stellar collection of ten songs was produced by renowned American pianist/singer Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman.  (The album is now up on Spotify.)

Cohen performed in NYC and in Europe last year, but currently there are no dates scheduled for the U.S. or abroad.  Check her Facebook page for news on upcoming shows.

American photographer Matthu Placek directed the three beautiful, ultra minimalist b/w videos that accompany Cohen's songs "Sunrise", "The Crying Game" and "Don't Say".  He has shot equally striking videos for Trixie Whitley and Kate Earl. The 'Cohen & Kittens' tableau above is also by him.



http://vimeo.com/matthuplacek (director)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bon Homme (Featuring Lydmor): Daybreaker + The Optimist

Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Tomas Høffding splits his time between Danish band WhoMadeWho and his solo project Bon Homme.  His second full-length album 'A Life Less Fancy' was released this week; the single 'Daybreaker' features his fellow Dane and frequent musical partner Jenny Rossander aka Lydmor [translation: Soundmother].



"Daybreaker" was directed by Anders Graver.
"The Optimist" was recorded at Viktoria Recording Studio in central Copenhagen in March.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sara Savery: Angel


Following the Danish release of her acclaimed 2011 debut full-length album 'The Diver', multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Sara Savery (Ghost Society, People Press Play, Blue Foundation)  relocated from Copenhagen to Brooklyn where she still resides.

The album gets a U.S. release on October 29 and a striking video has been published to accompany the track "Angel."  The clip was directed by Janus Metz, known for his award winning documentary 'Armadillo', and features Louise Midjord and Morten Eggert of The Royal Danish Ballet.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Quasi: You Can Stay But You Gotta Go

Longtime musical partners/former marital partners Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes formed Portland, Oregon band Quasi twenty years ago. In between playing with various bands/artists - Weiss was the primary drummer in Sleater-Kinney and Coomes played with Eliott Smith to name a few of their projects - they somehow found time to record and tour as Quasi.

A 24-track double album entitled 'Mole City' drops on October 1; it's their ninth full-length. An extensive fall tour kicks off on October 3 in the U.S. and wraps on December 14 in the UK.



The eccentric clip for "You Can Stay But You Gotta Go" is a prime example of an ultra low-budget, but very effective video: the footage perfectly compliments the music, lyrics and the clever title.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Jack Johnson: I Got You

Mr. Triple G (Good Green Guy) Jack Johnson drops his sixth studio album 'From Here To Now To You' on September 17 on his own label Brushfire Records. (Ben Harper is featured on the track "Change".)

The European and U.S. dates for his fall tour with regular band mates Merlo Podlewski, Adam Topol and Zach Gill have already sold out, but news on last minute ticket releases will be posted on Facebook and Twitter as well as on his official site. Tickets for the December shows in New Zealand and Australia go on sale Tuesday.




Longtime pal Emmett Malloy directed the video for the single "I Got You', released in June.  Obviously, the footage was shot around Johnson's beautiful home state of Hawaii, most likely around Oahu where he grew up and still resides.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Janelle Monae: Prime Time (Featuring Miguel)

Janelle Monae dropped her second full-length album 'The Electric Lady' today. The official audio for "Prime Time" featuring vocals by Miguel was published last month.  Judging by the arrangement, style and lyrics, Prince likely contributed the guitar work and may even have written or co-written the track. (He is officially featured on "Givin 'Em What They Love", track 2 on the 19-track album.)

Why a video for "Prime Time" has not been produced to coincide with the album release is beyond mystifying.  Luckily, an excellent video was made earlier this year to accompany "Q.U.E.E.N. (featuring Erykah Badu) which I posted back in May. In addition, a clip for "Dance Apocalyptic" was published in July.

Finally, there's a video!

Monae's big U.S. fall tour kicks off October 13 in Philadelphia and includes a show on October 18 gig at the legendary Apollo Theater in NYC. Last gig will be in Atlanta on November 26.

NOTE:  The concert site Songkick lists half a dozen European shows this month; however, those dates are not listed on Monae's official site or on her Facebook tour page. (One exception: the iTunes Festival gig this Saturday September 14 in London with Chic and Nile Rodgers.)



Friday, September 6, 2013

Chris Dave: Actual Proof (With The Drumhedz) + Medley Part 1 & Part 2

45-year-old drummer genius Chris Dave graduated from Houston's renowned High School For The Performing And Visual Arts and has been playing professionally in various genres with a wide range of artists/bands since the late 1980s, but is increasingly focusing on leading his two very personal projects Chris Dave And The Drumhedz and Chris Dave & Friends.

You can download a free Drumhedz mixtape by going to his official website. (The full mixtape is also on his SoundCloud page.)

Chris 'Daddy' Dave has three shows coming up in Tokyo with The Drumhedz on September 27, 28 and 30.

NOTE on video 1: Covering Herbie Hancock's "Actual Proof" with The Drumhedz for German musician's magazine/portal Bonedo. The current members are Isaiah Sharkey on guitar, Kebbi Williams on sax & flute, and Jermaine Williams on bass.




Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Gods: Skipping Stone (Oblivion) + Razorblades + Klipse + On Your Side

Melbourne band Little Red split up for good last year, but its five members have all gone on to form new bands. Two of them, vocalist Dominic Byrne and guitarist Adrian Beltrame teamed up to found New Gods which includes bass player Richard Bradbeer of Eagle and The Worm, keyboard player Dale Packard of Ground Components, as well as drummer Sam Raines. An excellent self-titled five-song debut EP was released on November 30; a debut full-length album is in the works.


So far, four videos have been published to accompany the EP tracks:

"Stepping Stone (Oblivion)", filmed by Dale Packard before, during, after a cyclone in Queensland.
"Razorblades" and "Klipse", produced by Twelfth House Films. http://vimeo.com/twelfthhousefilms
"On Your Side", produced by Tooth & Claw. http://vimeo.com/toothandclaw

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Holidays: Voices Drifting

Sydney band The Holidays released three EPs between 2008 and 2010; this was also the year their debut full-length album 'Post Paradise' came out.  A second album will drop in early 2014.

A hypnotic video for the stellar teaser single 'Voices Drifting' was published this month. The clip was directed by multi media artist William Mansfield.

Formerly a quartet, the trio has a few shows coming up in Australia in September and October:


http://vimeo.com/wmansfield  (director)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ester Rada: Could It Be + Life Happens

28-year-old Ethiopian-Israeli singer-songwriter Ester Rada is gaining legions of new fans by the minute; performances this year at SXSW and Glastonbury no doubt helped get the word out.

Produced and arranged by SaBBo & Kuti

, her outstanding four-track EP 'Life Happens' was released on November 1 of last year; a full-length debut album is in the works.


For those of you in Israel: Rada has three shows this month, August 23, 24, and 30.


"Life Happens" directed by Gal Muggia

"Could It Be" directed by Alon Segal

Be sure to check out the stellar reggae track "Better Days" from aforementioned Israeli producer team SaBBo & Kuti's 2011 album of the same name.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Melissa Laveaux: Postman + Pretty Girls

28-year-old Haitian-Canadian singer-songwriter-guitarist Melissa Laveaux dropped her second full-length album 'Dying Is A Wild Night' earlier this year and will be touring Europe throughout the fall.


'Pretty Girls' was directed by Vittorio Bettini:


'Postman' was directed by Terence Nance:


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mazzy Star: California

L.A. band Mazzy Star will release their fourth studio album 'Seasons of Your Day' on September 24; it's their first one since 1996. Co-written/co-produced by Hope Sandoval and David Roback, the tracks were recorded in California and Norway.  The new ten-track album will be comprised of new material, including the teaser single "California", as well as the 2011 single "Common Burn"/"Lay Myself Down". 

Sandoval's unmistakable voice sounds as beautiful as ever on "California'.  A video premieres next month and a fall tour is also in the works; dates will be announced any day now.

The promised video was published September 21. Tour dates in the U.S. and Canada were announced September 9.



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Hymns From Nineveh: A Kid On The Beach + The Streets Of Pyongyang

Danish singer-songwriter Jonas H. Petersen founded the project Hymns From Nineveh in 2007.  A five-track EP entitled 'Uncomplicated Christmassongs' was released in 2009; a full-length Christmas album followed in 2011.  His self-titled debut album was also released in 2011; a second studio album 'Visions' drops September 19.

When playing live Petersen aka Hymnboy is joined by a five-member band; however, occasionally he performs solo, as seen in the second clip, recorded by Danish televison station DR2; the gorgeous song "The Streets of Pyongyang" begins at 00:35.  The first video was shot by Mikkel Aabenhuus.

Hymnboy and his merry men have nine shows scheduled between September 27 and November 3, all of them in Denmark; hopefully the six of them will also be playing gigs outside Denmark in the near future.



http://vimeo.com/user3526898  (director Mikkel Aabenhuus)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Moby: A Case For Shame + The Lonely Night

After ten albums and much touring, Moby relocated from longtime base NYC to Los Angeles where he spent 18 months recording his eleventh studio album 'Innocents' which drops in late September and will feature several collaborations, including two tracks with guest vocalists Cold Speck on "A Case for Shame" and Mark Lanegan on "The Lonely Night".

Instead of a full tour, he has opted to do a total of three 3-hour shows (9 pm-midnight) October 2-4 at The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. All dates will feature special guests and will include old as well as new Moby material. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Thursday August 8.





NOTES on videos:
"A Case for Shame" is the first clip ever directed by Moby himself. (he also did the art for the new album.)
"The Lonely Night" was directed by Colin Rich who specializes in remarkable time-lapse videos.

 http://vimeo.com/deerdog  +  http://deer-dog.com/videos/  (director Colin Rich)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Weeknd: Love In The Sky + Belong To The World

With three 2011 mixtapes and the 2012 compilation album 'Trilogy' behind him, 23-year-old Ethiopian-Canadian singer-songwriter-producer Abel Tesfaye aka The Weeknd is ready to release his debut studio album 'Kiss Land' on September 10.  

His 'The Fall' tour kicks off September 6 in Vancouver and wraps up in London November 26.  Two consecutive concert dates are scheduled for each of the following cities: Vancouver, L.A., NYC, Boston, Chicago, Manchester, UK, and there will be a total of three shows in Toronto October 17, 19, 20.

NOTE on audio track: 
I'm posting the version of the single "Love in the Sky" that was uploaded to SoundCloud yesterday since I find it superior to the video version; it is also several minutes longer.

NOTE on video:
The stunning clip for "Belong to the World" was shot in Tokyo by renowned American director Anthony Mandler.  



http://blackhandcinema.com/   (director Anthony Mandler)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Laura Mvula: She

Classically trained at the Birmingham Conservatoire where she majored in composition, 27-year-old British singer-songwriter-pianist Laura Mvula (born Douglas) released her debut album 'Sing to the Moon' in March.

Two stunning videos were created for the outstanding lead single "She".  The most recent clip is by London based director Alex Southam; the original video is by photographer Damian Weilers, also London based, and was shot in and around the town of Montagu in South Africa’s Western Cape province.

Mvula (her husband is Zambian-born baritone Themba Mvula, also a Birmingham Conservatoire graduate)  is currently touring:  her next show is August 4 in Stockholm.  A string of dates are scheduled for continental Europe, the UK, the U.S., as well as Canada.  She wraps up the tour in Dublin October 12.



http://vimeo.com/oofvideo  (director Alex Southam)

http://vimeo.com/user6321397  (director Damian Weilers)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Vinnie Who: 39 + How Can I Be Sure

Tired of playing guitar in various Copenhagen indie bands, Niels Bagge reinvented himself as vocalist Vinnie Who.  Following several singles and the EP 'A Step' in 2010, he released the debut album 'Then I Met You' in 2011.  His second album 'Midnight Special' dropped in February of this year.

Two tracks from 'Midnight Special' are accompanied by gorgeous videos:  "39" was directed by Mai and Mikkel Aabenhuus and features their son Asbjørn Aabenhuus; the mini-movie "How Can I Be Sure" was directed by Jeppe Kolstrop.

Vinnie Who performed earlier this month at the Roskilde Festival and has several other music festival gigs coming up within the next month as well as two non-festival shows in September/October. All of the dates are in Denmark; however he has previously played various European venues and plans to do more shows outside Denmark in the near future.



http://vimeo.com/user3526898  (director Mikkel Aabenhuus)

http://vimeo.com/jeppekolstrup   (director Jeppe Kolstrup)

Monday, July 22, 2013

John Grant: GMF + Pale Green Ghosts

Following a decade in The Czars, the Denver, Colorado band he co-founded, touring on his own and also taking a break from music, John Grant released his highly acclaimed debut solo album 'Queen of Denmark' in 2010; it was recorded in collaboration with Texas band Midlake in 2008 and 2009.

Relocating to Reykjavik, Iceland in 2011, he began working with Biggi Veira of Gus Gus on his second album 'Pale Green Ghosts' which dropped in March of this year.

His current European tour includes three shows in Iceland this week, three in Germany, Switzerland and Ireland in August, five in Norway and Spain in September, and four in the UK in October.

NOTES on the video directors, both of whom are based in London:
"GMF" by Lucy Luscombe.
"Pale Green Ghosts" by Alex Southam.



http://vimeo.com/lucyluscombe  (director Lucy Luscombe)

http://vimeo.com/oofvideo  (director Alex Southam)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Quadron: Favorite Star

I'm posting two versions of Danish (currently Los Angeles based) duo Quadron's song "Favorite Star" from their second album 'Avalanche' released May 31. Both are excellent, but I prefer the performance recorded by Danish Radio P3: Vocalist Coco seems more relaxed, more herself, more 'in the zone'. Ultimately however, as with everything, it's a matter of personal taste. Both versions by the way feature outstanding work on the bass, electric and stand up, respectively, by Thomas Drayton.

On Saturday July 27 Coco will be performing as part of the annual SummerStage event series at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, NYC (enter at 69th Street/5th Avenue). Also in the line up: Lianne La Havas, LP, and DJ Center. The rain-or-shine 7-10 pm concert is FREE.

NOTE: As usual, Coco will be on stage with her regular band of merry men which does not include musical partner Robin who prefers studio settings to live shows. 

Rumsey Playfield, enter Central Park on 69th and 5th Ave - See more at: http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage/about/#sthash.1JQJmMoK.dpuf
Rumsey Playfield, enter Central Park on 69th and 5th Ave - See more at: http://www.cityparksfoundation.org/summerstage/about/#sthash.1JQJmMoK.dpuf




Tuesday, July 16, 2013

David Bowie: Valentine's Day

Is there anyone cooler than David Bowie?  Doubtful.

"Valentine's Day" is the fourth single and video from his 'The Next Day' album which dropped in March.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Justin Timberlake: Take Back The Night

Yesterday Justin Timberlake released the first single "Take Back the Night" from his upcoming 'The 20/20 Expericence: 2 of 2' album which will drop September 30.  Sounding like a never-released track from Michael Jackson's 1979 'Off the Wall' album, you may ask: is Timberlake paying homage to M.J. or ripping off M.J.? Or you could ask: does it really matter when a song is this good?

His current tour continues off and on through February and includes two shows at Yankee Stadium in NYC with Jay-Z July 19 and 20.


I've deleted the teaser audio-only clip presented last month and replaced it with the music video released this week; unfortunately, it doesn't get even close to matching the energy of the music/vocals.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Live From Daryl's House: Sara Smile + I Can't Go For That (No Can Do) + Cab Driver + Bend

One of the finest singers, musicians and songwriters for close to fifty years, many of them with musical partner John Oates, Daryl Hall, now 66, is still going strong. Ample proof is on display during his performances on the popular show 'Live From Daryl's House' which is currently taking a production break, but will thankfully soon return with new episodes. Hall's outstanding musical direction and piano/guitar playing & vocals, a stellar house band, plus a string of hand picked guest artists make for a flawless and intimate show.

Check for updates:



Video info:

Guest artist: Rumer
Song: "Sara Smile"
From Hall & Oates' 1975 album 'Daryl Hall & John Oates'.  (also covered by Rumer on her 2012 album 'Boys Don't Cry')

Guest artists: Mayer Hawthorne, Booker T. Jones
Song: "I Can't Go For That" (No Can Do)
From Hall & Oates' 1981 album 'Private Eyes'

Guest artist: Keb Mo
Song: "Cab Driver"
From Daryl Hall's 1996 solo album 'Can't Stop Dreaming'

Guest artist: Shelby Lynne
Song: "Bend"
From Shelby Lynne's 2001 album 'Love, Shelby'

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fat Freddy's Drop: Clean The House

The latest video from Fat Freddy's Drop comes across as a weirdly creepy marionette show as directed by Quentin Tarantino. (the real director is Mark Williams.)

The swampy, funky single "Clean The House" is taken from their third studio album 'Blackbird', released last month although it doesn't drop in the U.S. until July 9.

The band has a few more European summer festival gigs coming up this month. Between late August and late September they will be playing Australia as well as their native New Zealand.  Four concerts are scheduled in the UK for the first week of October, and they wrap up the tour with fourteen dates in continental Europe during the rest of October.



Saturday, June 29, 2013

Caged Animals: Cindy & Me + All The Beautiful Things In The World + This Summer I'll Make It Up To You

Brooklyn band Caged Animals started as songwriter Vincent Cacchione's home-recorded solo project.  Their new single "Cindy & Me" dropped this month and a second full-length album is forthcoming.

The baboon-revenge-fantasy video accompanying "Cindy & Me" was directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada.



http://vimeo.com/user629897  (Carlos Lopez Estrada)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Nico & Vinz: Am I Wrong

Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery aka Nico & Vinz released the mixtape 'DreamWorks: Why Not Me' in 2010, followed it up with the debut album 'The Magic Soup and The Bittersweet Faces' in 2012, and dropped the outstanding single "Am I Wrong" in April of 2013.

Born in Norway in 1990, the two grew up just outside Oslo. Seraba's parents are from Norway (mother) and Ivory Coast (father); Dery's mother and father are both from Ghana. The gorgeous video for "Am I Wrong", directed by fellow Norwegian Kavar Singh, was shot in Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Update 2014: "Am I Wrong" is now available on the full-length album 'Black Star Elephant'. 
Note: The duo was using the name Envy until early 2014.



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Michelle Chamuel aka The Reverb Junkie: Deeds + Castles + You Don't Know (with Christopher Norman)

Although Michelle Chamuel did not win first place on The Voice singing competition last night, her appearance on national television these past few months is absolutely priceless in terms of exposure to a wide audience.

The singer-songwriter-musician-producer was a member of Ann Arbor band Ella Riot from 2007 to 2011 after which she begun to record and release material under the moniker The Reverb Junkie.  She has also collaborated with Christopher Norman: last summer they released the excellent EP 'All the Pretty People' on BandCamp.

As The Reverb Junkie, Chamuel is clearly influenced and inspired by Robyn, Katy Perry, and Imogen Heap, yet nevertheless manages to find her own unique voice and sound, as evidenced on the stellar tracks posted below. 



Monday, June 17, 2013

Jenny Lindfors: The Blazing Sun + Don't Tempt The Shadow + Step To The Right


Irish, with a Swedish last name, and now based in London, singer-songwriter Jenny Lindfors released her debut album 'When the Night Time Comes' in 2008, followed it up with the three-track EP 'Step to the Right' in 2012, and is currently recording her second full-length.

Like virtually all female folk singers with a guitar she is compared to a young Joni Mitchell, yet both her sound and her effortless, exquisite phrasing are in fact much closer to those of James Taylor, Bill Withers, as well as the late, great Eva Cassidy.

In 2011 Rumer invited Lindfors to open for her on a spring/summer tour of the UK plus one gig in Paris. This year she is planning a small tour for September and recently asked fans to suggest "cozy, special" UK venues via Facebook:



Speaking of Rumer, here is my post from last summer: