Tuesday, December 30, 2014
This has been a banner year for 26-year-old Danish singer-songwriter Karen Marie Ørsted aka MØ: her debut full-length 'No Mythologies to Follow' was released in March, she toured extensively, and also performed at the Roskilde Festival as well as on U.S. shows Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Saturday Night Live. So what better way to end 2014 than by uploading the fresh-out-of-the-oven "New Year's Eve". Arguable her best song to date, the gorgeous track showcases her perfect pop vocals as well as her impressive songwriting skills and bodes very well for 2015. It was produced by MØ and co-produced and mixed by Ronnie Vindahl (of Copenhagen musical collective Boomclap Bachelors) who also produced 'No Mythologies To Follow'.
The video which apart from the artist herself consists mainly of various Hollywood movie clips is a great companion piece; it was expertly directed and edited by by Anne Sofie Skaaring.
MØ has three shows coming up January 17, 18, and 19 at the Koncertsalen in Copenhagen (the first one quickly sold out and two extra shows were added.) She also has two gigs lined up for the spring: April 6 in Warsaw and April 7 in Amsterdam; more dates will no doubt be added soon.
Happy New Year to all of my readers wherever you are in the world - Thank You for "tuning in" to The Nightfly!!!
This is the last post for 2014 - see you in 2015!
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
A very Merry Christmas to all of my readers out there - thank you for "tuning in" to The Nightfly music blog!
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Released Monday, 'Black Messiah' is only the third album from D'Angelo in close to two decades and the first in fourteen years; luckily his large fan base is the patient, loyal kind. The gutsy choice of title was elaborated on by the artist himself in two articulate paragraphs that I felt were worth posting:
While his reverence for his idol Prince shines through a tad too much in the arrangements of a few of the twelve tracks, there is thankfully plenty of D'Angelo on most of the new collection. And just like Prince, it is when he goes into mad scientist mode that he is at his very best, playing around with beats and riffs to create intricate layers of sound and adding his distinctive vocals on top of it all.
No videos as of yet, but I picked three vaudios (video + audio!) all of which showcase the artist formerly tormented and now back in full force:
1. 1000 Deaths: A runaway funky freight train barreling down the tracks, an unstoppable, gorgeous hot mess.
2. Another Life: Few can do bittersweet like he can; this beautiful ballad is a prime example.
3. Ain't That Easy: Vintage D'Angelo with the signature beat and still sounding fresh.
His European 'Second Coming' tour kicks off on his 41st birthday February 11 in Zurich and wraps up in Brussels March 7; it includes three shows in the UK February 17, 18 and 20.
NOTE: Two tracks were co-written with Q-Tip who needs no introduction. More interestingly however, eight tracks were co-written with Kendra Foster, a Florida born and raised, now Brooklyn based talented artist in her own right with a debut solo album in the works. Singing background in D'Angelo's band The Vanguard since 2012 , she has also toured with George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic. Not a bad resume.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
25-year-old Vanessa Ferdinand aka Purple Ferdinand of East London began writing and playing music in earnest after her mother gave her a ukulele for Christmas of 2009. A debut 3-track EP 'Dragonfly' was released in 2012, a second EP is in the works, and a full-length can be expected sometime in the new year.
The stand out track is the beautiful "Wasn't Taught To Love" with its echoes of Lianne La Havas, Corinne Bailey Rae and Zee Avi.
No shows are scheduled at this time, but make sure to check her Facebook or official site for updates. The latter will also provide you with a free download of 'Dragonfly'.
Monday, December 8, 2014
Danish band Turboweekend have a new video out to accompany the stellar teaser single "Miles &Miles" from their upcoming fourth full-length which will drop sometime in the spring.
The outstanding, nightmarish clip was directed/art directed by Benjamin Robin Graahede of Copenhagen based No 22 Studio in collaboration with DOP/editor Rasmus Kahlen and features vocalist Silas Bjerregaard running as if his life depended on it; drummer Martin Øhlers Petersen, bassist Morten Køie plus synthersizer man Anders Stig Møller were apparently spared any running...unless of course they were doing the chasing.
A string of shows around Denmark are scheduled for March, April and May. Four shows (May 5-8) in Germany have also just been announced and more tour dates outside Denmark will be added in the next few weeks.
In case you missed my interview with Silas from November of 2010 when Turboweekend was a trio:
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
36-year-old Swedish-Argentinian Gothenburg-based singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez releases his third full-length on February 17. Entitled 'Vestiges and Claws', it is his first since his 2007 album 'In Our Nature. (he did stay busy with collaborations and other projects during those years.)
The beautiful lullaby like single "Every Age" dropped last month and calls to mind early Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam post-1977) both musically and lyrically, but also in great part thanks to Gonzalez' s mellow vocals. (Coincidentally, the mother of the still active 66-year old London born Stevens/Islam was Swedish.)
Gonzalez will be touring extensively this winter/early spring:
Continental Europe + the UK: February 18 to March 17
The U.S. + Canada: April 6 to April 29
Next up is the Wonderfruit Festival in Chonburi, Thailand: December 19-21. The stellar line up includes Little Dragon (with his significant other Yukimi Nagano), De La Soul, Woodkid, Fat Freddy's Drop, The Gas Lamp Killer, and more.
In addition, his first summer festival gig has just been announced: he is scheduled to perform at the NorthSide Festival in Århus, Denmark. (June 12-14.)
The fantastic video accompanying "Every Age" was directed by mad scientists Simon Morris and Chris Higham of Stockholm-based creative collective Assembled in Sweden whose project Eyes in Space involved sending the six-sided camera Hexacam up, up and away, allowing for a 360 degree view usually only enjoyed by astronauts.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Leave it to Jordi Davieson, Josh Biondillo, Nick Gardner and Scarlett Stevens of San Cisco to provide some holiday cheers with a great song and a hyperkinetic video. The brand new track "Run" is the first single from their upcoming second full-length (a release date has not yet been announced, but with just over a month left of 2014, it looks like it will drop in early 2015.)
There's still time to catch the quartet on their current mini-tour in their native Australia: Friday in Newcastle and Saturday + Sunday in Melbourne.
The clip was directed/edited by Matt Sav.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
I usually don't post lyric videos, but I'm making an exception with singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/tech wizard Robert DeLong's single "Long Way Down" from his new four-track EP of the same name, not only due to its pretty cool graphics but even more so owing to sheer impatience: the song is so disturbingly catchy, I don't want to wait around until a bona fide clip is published.
Hailing from Seattle but based in Echo Park near downtown L.A., Delong released his debut full-length 'Just Movement' almost two years ago; the stellar tracks "Global Concepts" and "Happy" earned him much well-deserved buzz at the time.
Eight dates are lined up for December: seven shows on the East Coast; the last gig Dec. 20 in Toronto.
If you missed my post last year:
Monday, November 10, 2014
London based band 2:54. fronted by Ireland born-UK raised sisters Colette and Hannah Thurlow dropped their second full-length 'The Other 1' today. The video for the outstanding track "Blindfold" was directed by Charlie Robins and Chris Hugall.
The Thurlows plus band mates Alex Robins and Rich Fry are in the early stages of their UK fall tour, but next up (Saturday November 15) is a performance at the Tastemaker Festival in Hamburg.
Wednesday, November 5, 2014
The debut seven-track EP 'Mirage' was released September 22.
The three musketeers are currently touring Denmark; they also have a few dates scheduled in the spring. Here's hoping they'll be touring soon outside Denmark as well.
NOTE: I chose to post the superb live version of "The Strip" rather than the video that was recently done during the trio's first visit to Los Angeles since the former better showcases their formidable talent. The clip was shot at the Copenhagen Casino by DR [the national Danish broadcasting corporation] as part of the ongoing series DR Output.
If you missed the April post:
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Singer-songwriter-producer Oh Land drops her fourth album 'Earth Sick' November 10. The stellar lead single "Head Up High" - written for a friend going through a difficult time - is accompanied by an excellent video in which the 29-year old artist gets to vent some frustration with a base ball bat; fortunately, only inanimate objects were at the receiving end. The clip was directed by Duncan Winecoff of NYC filmmaking collective All:Expanded.
While based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for almost five years, Oh Land frequently travels to her native Denmark and will be doing three one-hour concerts in and around Copenhagen in December: December 11 in Helsingør (aka Elsinore of Hamlet fame) and December 12 + 13 in Copenhagen borough Frederiksberg.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
24-year-old Irish singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Hozier-Byrne aka Hozier has arguable been the busiest man in show business this year, but despite his crazy schedule of performing, recording, and interviewing he seems remarkably unfazed by it all. His current tour continues until late March (with a break between Christmas and late January) and almost every date is sold out.
His relatively fast ascent to fame is in great part owing to the song "Take Me To Church" going viral on the Internet last year. However, unlike so many artists/bands who suddenly find themselves with a hit on their hands, the man is no one hit wonder as the 'Hozier' debut full-length amply proves. The 13-track album was released globally this month (an edition with two bonus tracks dropped in late July) and showcases Hozier's sublime vocals and outstanding guitar work.
His blues musician father exposed his son to American blues and soul music from an early age and the influence is of course obvious, but like his fellow Irish musical magician Van Morrison, Hozier has managed to create his own very personal sound that mixes American blues/R&B/soul with the equally rich tradition of Irish music. It's a truly beautiful combo and one that will hopefully result in many more albums from this immensely gifted artist.
NOTE: His debut EP 'Take Me To Church' was released in 2013. The EP 'From Eden' followed earlier this year. The debut full-length 'Hozier' contains almost all of the tracks from the two EPs.
The stellar set at KCRW [the flagship public radio station in Santa Monica, California] and Morning Becomes Eclectic show host Jason Bentley's relaxed interview is well worth watching. Hozier proves that he can deliver the goods not just in recording studio, but also live, and it is thus safe to say that concert goers have much to look forward to this fall and winter.
The powerful video accompanying "Take Me To Church" that went viral in 2013 was created by the two-man Dublin based team of Feel Good Lost in close collaboration with the artist himself.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
In September of 2012 I blogged about L.A. project New Mountain and in October the same year did an interview with frontman Blake Runyon. This week Runyon dropped the six-track EP 'Dark Matters' which finds him collaborating with a different set of musicians than on the 2012 New Mountain debut full-length 'Under New Skies': among them are Annie Woodward, Alexa Melo and Christian James Hand; the latter also recorded, mixed and produced the new EP.
I chose to post Runyon's outstanding, downright funky track "Tame Yourself" because it shows a somewhat different musical facet of the very gifted singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist. (NOTE: there is no video yet, but here's hoping there will be.)
For those of you in L.A.: you might catch him showcasing his songs on a Friday night at the weekly 'That Cool Music Thing' event at Full Circle at 305 Rose Avenue in Venice.
And for readers in NYC: on Saturday October 25 he will be playing bass with SiriusXM radio host Jason Ellis' rock/metal band Horse Force (not to be confused with the one-man dubstep project bearing the same name.)
If you missed the Q&A or the post on New Mountain two years ago:
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Born and raised in metropolitan Copenhagen but based in Berlin since 2006, singer-songwriter Agnes Obel dropped two editions of her second full-length 'Aventine' Oct. 1 and Oct. 6, respectively. The deluxe edition contains twenty-two tracks, including her haunting composition "Dorian" and a David Lynch remix of the beautiful song "Fuel to Fire"; here's hoping the director decides to feature her music on the newly announced nine-episode continuation of his Twin Peaks TV-series which will air on Showtime in early 2016.
Obel's current tour continues Sunday with a show in Berlin. Eleven North American dates are scheduled between October 30 and November 13. Finally, there will be three gigs in Australia November 25, 27 and 28.
The vintage black/white footage used to accompany the two album tracks suits them both to a tee: David Dean Burkhart edited "Fuel to Fire"; Obel's romantic and frequent creative partner Alex Bruel Flagtad edited "Dorian".
Monday, October 6, 2014
Svein Berge and Thorbjørn Brundtland aka Röyksopp will continue to make music, but the aptly titled full-length 'The Inevitable End' (to be released November 10) will be the Norwegian duo's final album. Fortunately for their many fans, they went all out for their fifth and final big party, inviting Robyn, Susanne Sundfør, Jamie Irrepressible and Ryan James as musical guests on eleven out of seventeen tracks.
The masterpiece "Monument" is an utterly breathtaking creation, combining Robyn's stunning vocals with Berge's/Brundtland's sublime electronica, creating a soundscape simultaneously otherworldly and of this world.
NOTE: "Monument" was included on 'Do It Again', the five-track Röyksopp & Robyn EP, released in May. (The EP title track will also be on 'The Inevitable End' album)
The gorgeous, hypnotic clip accompanying the track was done by Swedish commerical/music video director Max Vitali.
Röyksopp will be performing at the Southbound Festival in Australia January 3-4, 2015. Also on the bill: Robyn, The Temper Trap, alt-J, Cold War Kids, and many more.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Born in South Africa, but raised in Perth, Australia, 19-year-old singer/actor Troye Sivan released EPs on his own in 2007 ('Dare to Dream') and 2012 ('June Haverly') before signing to EMI Australia last year.
The major label debut EP 'TRXYE' dropped last month. On the stellar first single "Happy Little Pill" Sivan's gorgeous vocals provide the song with a strong mix of melancholia and a dreamy floating-on-a-cloud vibe.
He is currently working on his debut full-length.
The excellent video was directed by his fellow Australian, Melbourne based film maker/musican/graphic artist Jeremy Koren of Grey Ghost.
Friday, September 26, 2014
UK band alt-J dropped their second full-length 'This Is All Yours' this week. Like Interpol, they have gone from being a quartet to being a trio in between albums and are also currently on an extensive fall/winter tour: coming up next is a show in Dublin on Saturday.
NOTE: Songkick seems to have the most up to tour info, whereas the band's Facebook page is missing several concert dates.
The video for the track "Hunger of the Pine", based on a story concept by guitarist/lead vocalist Joe Newman, was shot by acclaimed Los Angeles based director/film maker/photographer Nabil Elderkin who has done stellar work for artists/bands such as Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Bon Iver, Little Dragon, Lana del Rey, FKA Twigs and many more.
The intense clip features superb cinematography and an outstanding physical performance by Ashley Holland, a pro practitioner of the holistic training discipline known as parkour founded by David Belle (born 1973) in Lisses in suburban Paris in the mid-1980s, based on his French-Vietnamese father Raymond Belle's training methods.
I highly recommend watching the excellent interview with David Belle, recently conducted in Lausanne, Switzerland by Ashley Holland's fellow parkour/free running team member Tim Shieff of London based Storm Freerun.
Monday, September 22, 2014
A trio since completing their fourth self-titled album in 2010, New York band Interpol released a new collection of songs with the anagram title 'El Pintor' this month; the album features a guest appearance by Rob Moose of Bon Iver among others.
Their latest video was shot at a NY boxing gym by front man Paul Banks with the help of Director of Photography Carlos Veron. It's a very good example of how relatively mundane, no frills footage can be made near poetic with the right music, in this case the superb track "Twice as Hard", arguably one of the band's finest to date.
Several dates on the current extensive North America/Europe fall and winter tour have already sold out, including one of two shows at the Fox Theater in Pomona, CA this week. The string of gigs will end in Dublin February 10-12 with three shows, two of which have sold out.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Her seven-track debut EP 'Sail Out' was released in November of last year. Now her cleverly titled debut full-length 'Souled Out' has finally dropped and 26-year old Los Angeles native Jhene Aiko does not disappoint. She and a variety of producers, including her 'Sail Out' collaborators Fisticuffs and No I.D., serve up twelve tracks, many of them featuring sophisticated soundscapes that draw you in, stay with you long after the last note fades out, and make you come back for more, thanks in great part to her soothing vocals, Yet her lyrics and messages have real bite to them, a contrast which lends the album a very special quality.
The excellent video for the stellar song "Pressure" was directed by Childish Gambino who was featured on the track "Bed Peace" on 'Sail Out'.
Aiko and Schoolboy Q will be opening for Weeknd during his North American 'King of the Fall' mini-tour this month and next month. She also has two gigs coming up in Las Vegas (Sept. 25) and Sacramento (Sept. 26). In addition, there will be a featured performance at the Def Jam 30th Anniversary concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on October 16.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Israeli singer-songwriter-guitarist Arnon Naor aka Sun Tailor journeyed to the UK at age 20 to study music. Now 34, he splits his time between Tel Aviv and London and is working on his as of yet untitled second full-length which will drop this winter.
His fellow Israeli, director Jonathan Vardi created the impressive video that accompanies the superb teaser track "Who's at Your Window" from the upcoming album. The song signals somewhat of a shift from the folk based sound of his outstanding debut album 'Like the Tide' released in 2012, but seems more a case of an artist boldly exploring new musical avenues than a complete change.
The video for the gorgeous track "Fay" off of 'Like the Tide' was made by London based independent production company Polaris Film Ltd. The haunting clip very much calls to mind the celebrated 2000 film 'In the Mood for Love' by one of my personal favorites, Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai.
There are not any gigs scheduled at this point, but Sun Tailor regularly performs live with a band of merry men in both Israel and the UK. Among these is his brother, drummer/percussionist Udi Naor with whom he co-produced 'Like the Tide'. No doubt there will be a tour once the second album comes out.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Dionne Bennett (lyrics/vocals), Dave Stapleton (music/keys), Deri Roberts (sound design, electronics, production, trombone, sax) and Elliot Bennett (drums) each paid their dues in various soul, funk and jazz bands in clubs in their hometown of Cardiff before forming Slowly Rolling Camera and lists fellow British color-outside-the-lines bands Cinematic Orchestra, Portishead, Zero 7 and Radiohead among their influences.
Their self-titled debut full-length dropped in February; this week it was released in Scandinavia as well. The album was co-produced by SRC and Andy Allan (Portishead, Massive Attack, etc.)
In a live context the quintet enlists a number of musicians to enhance their already impressive soundscape: Jasper Hoiby (double bass), Matt Robertson (synths), Chris Montague (guitar), Mark Lockheart (tenor and soprano sax) and Neil Yates (trumpet).
There are four shows scheduled so far this fall: first up is a performance at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg on September 20.
The outstanding video that accompanies the intoxicating track "Dream a Life" was filmed and directed by the London based independent production company Polaris Films Ltd.
Monday, September 1, 2014
Veteran Danish multi-instrumentalist/producer/DJ Anders Trentemøller aka Trentemøller released his third full-length album 'Lost' last September; it featured various guest vocalists, incl. Marie Fisker, Sune Rose Wagner, Kazu Makino and more. Today he drops the album 'Lost Reworks' which has the maestro himself as well as guests such as Toydrum and Jenny Wilson remixing about half the tracks found on 'Lost'.
His European summer/fall tour continues at the Berlin Festival on September 7; last show scheduled will be in Moscow on October 11.
The track "Gravity", featuring vocals by American songwriter/musician Jana Hunter of the band Lower Dens, is accompanied by a humorous video shot in Los Angeles by L.A./Copenhagen based director Tue Walin Storm plus fellow Dane Elvira Lind and stars acclaimed American actor Oscar Isaac as the car pool hitch hiker.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Long Beach, CA native son Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg aka Avi Buffalo can no longer be called a young whippersnapper - in case anyone ever did call him that. It's been four years since the debut self-titled full-length of the solo project-slash-band that bears his nickname and he's now a 23-year old grown ass man ready to share a new collection of songs with the world. The album with the cryptic title 'At Best Cuckold' drops on Sub Pop on September 9.
The excellent clip for "So What" was directed by L.A. based film maker Jon Jon Augustavo and features Avi in a dream like 'cherche la femme' narrative.
The stellar album track "Memories of You" unfortunately does not yet have a video to go with it.
Avi and his live performance buddies kick off their extensive fall tour September 8 in Seattle: shows are scheduled for the West Coast (incl. one in Vancouver, Canada September 9), Europe and the East Coast; last gig - following the Ireland/UK/continental Europe dates - will be in Boise, Idaho on November 18.
http://www.avibuffalomusic.com/ (full tour schedule)
In case you missed my interview with Avi from October 2009:
Sunday, August 24, 2014
What started as a solo project and morphed into a trio is now a quintet when performing live. Swedish band Simian Ghost from Sandviken, 118 miles west of Stockholm, will drop their third full-length 'The Veil' on September 9. (their second album 'Youth' from 2012 was reissued in the U.S. this year on Austin, Texas based indie label Red Eye Transit with five additional tracks.)
They have several shows scheduled for the fall, including an appearance at the famed CMJ Music Marathon in New York City which will take place October 21-25.
The quirky clip for the excellent teaser single "Never Really Knew" was directed by accomplished American director Dan Huiting and requires a disclaimer due to its twist ending: no adult male dancer was harmed in the making of this video.
The downright funky acoustic version was recorded for French label Discograph; it was shot by Paris based production company Oktofilms.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Buzz has been slowly building around London-by-way-of-Manchester artist Shura and her two stellar tracks "Touch" and "Just Once".
Upcoming shows announced on her Facebook page this week:
- November 1: London Calling Festival in Amsterdam (also on the bill: Spoon, Sebadoh and more.)
- November 21: Electronic Beats Festival in Leipzig (also on the bill: Warpaint, Asbjørn, and more.)
The excellent video for "Touch" was directed by Ammr Khalifa, also London based.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Hailing from Wales, 31-year-old Rod Thomas used to busk during his teens at various London Underground stations and went on to release several folk singles plus one folk album, yet it wasn't until he began recording and performing as Bright Light Bright Light in 2009-2010 that he found his true identity, sound and voice.
The singer-songwriter/dj/producer's debut album 'Make Me Believe' came out in 2012. His second full-length 'Life Is Easy' dropped last month; the track "I Wish We Were Leaving" features Elton John whom Thomas will be joining on the superstar's extensive North America/Europe fall tour September 13 - December 9.
However, the album's finest moments are the stellar tracks "In Your Care" and "I Believe". Thankfully both songs are accompanied by excellent videos: the first very poignant mother/son narrative was shot in NYC by Brooklyn based director Thomas O'Connor; the latter literally and figuratively buoyant clip was directed by Portland, Oregon born filmmaker Andrew Ellmaker in collaboration with Blake Martin.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
When feeling burned out in 2010, Austin band Spoon wisely took a break for a few years, each member doing various musical projects. The sabbatical seemed to have worked: Tuesday they released 'They Want My Soul', produced by Joe Chicarelli and the king of alt-rock, Dave Friedman, formerly of Mercury Rev. With this album, their eighth studio full-length and their first on Loma Vista Recordings (Little Dragon, Cut Copy, Rhye, Soundgarden, etc.) they have also added Alex Fischel (keyboard/guitar) to join co-founders Britt Daniel and Jim Eno, as well as Rob Pope and Eric Harvey.
The track "Inside Out" is accompanied by a unique clip comprised of shots by acclaimed Alburquerque native/Chicago based photographer Todd Baxter which were then edited by Spanish graphic designer Mau Morgo into a delightfully weird and dreamlike video, perfectly complimenting the superb soundscape created by Spoon.
Tomorrow night Friday Spoon will be performing a sold out gig at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, but fortunately there are many more dates scheduled this summer and fall:
August 10 - September 23: the U.S. (twenty-one shows) and Canada (two shows)
October 5 & 12: Austin City Limits Music Festival
November 1 - 7: Continental Europe (six shows) and the UK (one show)
Saturday, August 2, 2014
|The Dandy Warhols in 2002|
Veronica Mars, starring the immensely talented Kristen Bell (three seasons, 2004-2007) was one of the best American TV shows; the crowdfunded feature film premiering earlier this year wasn't so shabby either. The track used as the show's theme song sounds as good today as it did then: "We Used To Be Friends" by The Dandy Warhols, from their 2003 album 'Welcome to the Monkey House'.
The Portland, Oregon band have been together for twenty years and their fan base remains solid, as evidenced by the fact that most of the shows for the upcoming August 21 - September 3 Australia tour already have sold out. September 12 - October 3 they'll be touring North America; the schedule includes one gig in Toronto September 25.
Friday, July 25, 2014
Arguably the hardest working band in show business, Brooklyn natives The So So Glos' most recent collection of perfect punk entitled 'Blow Out' dropped in February. On the sublime tracks "All of the Time" and "Speakeasy" are echoes of The Clash, The Stooges, The Kinks and The Ramones, but they have managed to forge a sound of their own.
The excellent videos for the two album tracks have shockingly few views on YouTube despite a loyal fan base: "All of the Time" directed by Daniel Ralston is a textbook example of less-is-more, whereas "Speakeasy" is a comparatively big production number with a clever commentary on the Age of the Smartphone; it was directed and edited by Chris Elia.
The quartet has more than a dozen dates left of their current North American tour; half of those will be opening gigs for Stiff Little Fingers. Between October 7 and 25 they will be touring Ireland, the UK and continental Europe with fellow Brooklynites The Hold Steady.
Monday, July 21, 2014
20-year-old singer-songwriter Rae Morris drops her second EP 'Cold' on July 29. On the stellar title track she has teamed up with fellow British tunesmith Benjamin Garrett aka Fryars who also co-stars with Morris in the cleverly choreographed video.
Her debut EP 'From Above' was released last year; it includes the beautiful "Wait a While" for which a clip was shot at the famous arcade in her native Blackpool.
Morris is currently touring the UK; there are also two shows in Switzerland (July 31) and Germany (September 18) scheduled. Between October 13 and November 2 she will be opening for George Ezra on his extensive European tour: first gig is in Dublin, last one in Copenhagen.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
A big radio hit here in the U.S. since its release earlier this year, SomeKindaWonderful's superb single "Reverse" sounds like Phil Spector producing Cee Lo Green in the 1960s, with some samples from a Ennio Morricone spaghetti western score sprinkled on just for kicks. Jordy Towers' outstanding voice is wisely given the spotlight on this outstanding track; the arrangement and production are supportive as opposed to suffocating. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, that can't be said for the remaining somewhat oddly eclectic material on the band's self-titled debut album which dropped June 23. Instead, Towers' vocals too often are buried in the mix, not to mention distorted. It's a crying shame. (Puzzling also is the lack of music videos so far; the clip that currently accompanies "Reverse" consists only of the song lyrics and repetitive artwork.)
Frustrated in Los Angeles after feeling an Interscope record deal had taken him in a wrong direction career wise, Towers retreated to suburban Cleveland, Ohio to lick his wounds, staying with a cousin. He soon found himself jamming one night at a local bar with drummer Ben Schiegel and guitarist Matt Gibson who happened to be looking for a singer. After about four hours spent in Schiegel's studio down the street the same night, the trio of new friends had come up with "Reverse." Keyboardist Steve and percussionist/backing vocalist Sarah were added later.
The quintet's spring/summer concert schedule will wrap Saturday July 26 as part of the music lineup at the week-long World Series of Beach Volleyball event right here in Long Beach. An extensive U.S. fall tour, opening for Danish band New Politics, runs from October 17 to November 30.
NOTE: Their stellar and very different take on 2Pac's classic 1995 anthem "California Love" is not on the debut full-length.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Bali, Indonesia born bona fide piano prodigy Joey Alexander turned eleven years old June 25, yet is already playing like a journeyman. This weekend, as part of the annual Copenhagen Jazz Festival, he wraps up a ten-date engagement (with his trio put together for the occasion) at The Standard club which opened last September on the waterfront, just around the corner from Nyhavn; it was co-founded by renowned Danish musician Niels Lan Doky who is also the music director.
Learning the keyboard at age six, Joey soon began favoring jazz instead of classical, listening to records and teaching himself by ear at seven. The following year he relocated to Jakarta with his parents and began performing at jazz festivals/events and participating in contests, several of which he won. In May of this year one of his biggest heroes, trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis invited him to perform at the Jazz at the Lincoln Center in NYC.
Not bad. Not bad at all.
Monday, July 7, 2014
After self-releasing 'EP1' in 2012 and dropping 'EP2' via UK label Young Turks last year, FKA twigs (born Tahliah Barnett) has taken the next logical step and named her eagerly awaited debut full-length 'LP1'; it will be out August 12.
The 26-year-old London based singer-songwriter-dancer also co-creates most of her videos, including the controversial 2013 clip for the track 'Papi Pacify'. The new stellar video for the upcoming album track "Two Weeks" however was shot by acclaimed Los Angeles based Iranian-American-Australian director/photographer Nabil Elderkin who has done several high profile clips for Frank Ocean and Kanye West as well as many others recording artists/bands.
FKA twig has nine dates scheduled for July and August in the UK and North America; only one of these shows is a festival gig.
http://fkatwi.gs/# (incl. tour schedule)
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Singer-songwriter-guitarist-producer Ryan Adams releases his first full-length in three years on September 9, two months before his 40th birthday November 5. The self-titled 11-track album's opener will be "Gimme Something Good" and is also the teaser single, released digitally as well as a 7-inch yesterday. No video yet, but judging from the stellar audio track, come September, something very good indeed is in store for his many loyal fans.
He has six shows scheduled this summer, including a performance Friday July 25 at the legendary three-day Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, held since 1959.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Many know his composition "Across 110th Street" from the 1972 film of the same title. It was later used on the soundtracks to Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown (1997) and Ridley Scott's American Gangster (2007), but Bobby Womack contributed so much more to music history, not least the legendary and hugely influential 1981 album 'The Poet' which featured some of L.A.'s best session musicians, including bassist Nathan East, guitarist David T. Walker and drummer James Gadson.
For singers especially, it is vital to have a distinctive voice and Womack was blessed with an unmistakable baritone which he could effortlessly turn from honey smooth to a sandpaper rough in a nano second. In addition, he was a highly gifted guitarist who was able to create sublime riffs, chords and changes that together with his vocals give the listener a natural high.
His many accomplishments and recordings from a 50-year long career are too numerous to list here. I have highlighted 'The Poet', not only because it is a flawless, timeless album, but because it showcases Womack's immense talent for masterful genre "cross pollination", in this case seamlessly mixing soul, gospel, R&B, funk, blues, jazz, rock, rock 'n roll, and country.
R.I.P. Bobby Womack, March 4, 1944 - June 27, 2014.
Friday, June 27, 2014
26-year-old Savannah, Georgia based grown up wunderkind Kortney Jamaal Pollard aka Mali Music began playing the piano at the age of five and wrote his first song when he was eight. In 2008 and 2009 he independently released two gospel albums, but with his third album 'Mali Is...' this immensely gifted artist is taking a true leap of faith by focusing on secular music, a choice that is earning him scorn from a few and praise from many. In so doing he is following in the footsteps of giants such as Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin as well as others who also wisely and boldly chose to broaden their horizons and in the process brought their powerful messages to millions of people who might otherwise not have heard their music.
While the official video that accompanies the current hit single "Beautiful" is excellent, it is in the outstanding live acoustic performance clips "Ready Aim" and "Beautiful" that Mali Music truly gets to shine.
In support of the major label debut album which dropped in May, he has been busy touring this year. There are still two U.S. shows coming up August 10 (San Francisco) and August 23 (Tampa.) On August 31 he has one gig in Medway, UK and there is a date scheduled for November 14 in Hamilton, Canada.
Monday, June 23, 2014
It's that time of year: the largest summer music festival in Northern Europe, held since 1971 on the outskirts of Roskilde west of Copenhagen, kicks off June 29 and wraps up July 6. Some of the big names performing on the larger stages include The Rolling Stones, OutKast, Drake, Stevie Wonder, Trentemøller, Deftones, Interpol, and Lykke Li.
After looking through the full line up however, I opted to blog about four lesser known bands/artists: two U.S. acts and two European acts that all caught my attention by way of sublime music and videos.
Classixx's delicious, thumping, back-to-the-future track "Holding On" makes Daft Punk sound like Sigor Ros. The busy production/DJ team released their debut album 'Hanging Gardens' in 2013. The simple, yet highly effective clip was shot in and around the duo's home base of Los Angeles.
On "Down on My Luck" 21-year-old Chicago artist Vic Mensa mixes hip hop with club and jazz sounds and comes up with an utterly intoxicating musical cocktail. The brand new single is taken from his debut EP 'Street Lights" which will drop later this year. The outstanding video cleverly explores alternate scenarios during a night out on the town; it was directed by Benjamin Dickinson of Brooklyn creative production company Ghost Robot.
The stellar track "19" by Danish trio Mont Oliver is taken from their 2013 EP of the same title. The excellent video was directed and edited by Mathias Nyholm and was shot in and around Copenhagen, including the co-ed dormitory Kollegiegården.
Moderat has been around since 2002, yet last year's release, aptly named 'Moderat II', is indeed only the Berlin collaborative's second full-length album. The hypnotic clip accompanying the equally trance inducing track '"Bad Kingdom" features impressive hand drawn artwork and was produced by fellow Berlin creatives Phadfinderei.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Lana Del Rey published a video yesterday to go with the gorgeous track "Shades of Cool" from her new album 'Ultraviolence.' The dreamy-creepy David Lynch like clip shot in Los Angeles features the mysterious Mark M. - plus Lana herself of course - and is said to be about the regrets of an older man thinking of earlier happier times and 'the one that got away.'
After touring all spring in North America, Europe, and the Middle East, Ms. Del Rey is now taking a well-deserved short break before wrapping up with four summer festival gigs: first up is a show in Norrkoping, Sweden on June 26.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
My fellow Long Beach, California residents Rival Sons have a new bass player, new shorter hairdos and new spiffy outfits, but most importantly, they have a new album out this week; 'Great Western Valkyrie' is their fourth full-length since 2009. Here's hoping the combined powerful forces of (from left to right) bassist Dave Beste, vocalist Jay Buchanan, guitarist Scott Holiday, and drummer Michael Miley will put the band on the radar of not just hard rock fans, but a wider audience with a taste for great music, period.
Currently wrapping up a string of gigs in the UK (Saturday @ the Isle of Wight Festival), Rival Sons kick off the North American leg of their busy summer tour schedule in Nashville June 19. Starting July 31, they play the first of four Scandinavian festivals and will also be performing at the Oppikoppi Festival in Limpopo, South Africa August 9. Finally, there are two late fall dates in France: Paris (November 11) and Lyon (December 6).
The video for the excellent teaser single "Open Your Eyes" was published in April. The sublime live version of "Jordan" - from the 2012 'Head Down' album - was recorded in London in May of last year.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
In between producing and drumming with Copenhagen based trio WhoMadeWho which he co-founded a decade ago, Tomas Barfod stays busy with solo projects: Monday he drops his second album 'Love Me'; the debut full-length 'Salton Sea' was released in 2012.
Barfod has four summer shows lined up in continental Europe. September 13 he will be performing at Primary Nightclub in Chicago; November 7 at the five-day Iceland Airwaves festival in Reykjavik.
Swedish-Hungarian Jakob Merky shot the "Happy" clip; British Cherise Payne directed "Pulsing". The first song is graced by the vocals of acclaimed American singer-songwriter Eddie Chacon, now also an L.A. based pro photographer; the second features Barfod's frequent collaborator, Swedish singer Nina Kinert aka Nina K.
NOTE: The track "Happy" is taken from the EP 'Pulsing', released in February.
http://www.baconcph.com/directors/directors/Jakob-Marky (director of "Happy")
http://vimeo.com/cherisecherise (director of "Pulsing")
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Swedish singer-songwriter Alice Boman decided to give her second EP the straightforward title 'EP II". Released today and recorded in a cabin in Sweden, it follows last year's debut EP 'Skisser'; the title translates to 'sketches'. NOTE: The 11-track EP II contains six new tracks as well as the five tracks found on 'Skisser'.
Touring for great parts of 2013, including opening for Anna Calvi, Boman continues to stay busy on the concert front this year: tonight, June 10 and June 12 she performs at various London venues. Next weekend there are two shows in Sweden (June 13 & 14) and in July/August she has three festival gigs scheduled.
The beautiful video accompanying the stunning track "Wait" looks to have been shot on the coast of Skåne, in the vicinity of Boman's home base of Malmo. It was produced by Studio Pop, a graphic design studio based in Malmo and Copenhagen, run by designers Kalle Magnusson & Henric Claesson.
http://www.studiopop.se/works/ (video directors)
Friday, May 30, 2014
The word is slowly but surely getting out on powerhouse Portland, Oregon quartet Magic Mouth and it's not a minute too soon. Brendan Scott (bass), Peter Condra (guitar), Ana Briseno (drums) and human dynamo Chanticleer Tru [aka Stephon Bartee] (vocals) formed the band in 2011, quickly gaining a local/regional reputation as an outstanding live act, and getting a big break when asked to open for Gossip during the trio's fall 2012 tour.
A stellar debut five-track EP 'Believer' dropped in April 2012; it was followed up last September with the equally impressive four-track EP 'Devil May Care', released on Fast Weapons, the small Portland label started by Gossip guitarist Nathan Howdeshell aka Brace Paine. Additionally, a three-track live EP 'Live at Mississippi Studios' was released in May of last year.
Blessed with first rate musicianship + one of the most dynamic, gifted singers around + very strong, eclectic material, Magic Mouth has precisely what it takes for a band to make it big, and will hopefully gain many new fans this year; everyone will all no doubt be eagerly awaiting a debut full-length, perhaps after these fab four get signed to a major label.
"Mother Lode" was co-directed by Michael Palmieri and frequent film maker partner Donal Mosher; the live session was shot at Portland's Mississippi Studios by Michael Palmieri.
There are two gigs coming up in the immediate future:
- June 19 at the What the Festival at Wolf Run Ranch, The Dalles, Oregon
- June 28 at Seattle's Pride Festival
http://vimeo.com/user4556971 (Director Michael Palmieri)