Thursday, January 29, 2015

Alex Vargas: Solid Ground

I often check in to see what's happening with artists and bands I have previously blogged about, hoping there is a new single, EP, album or video. Today I was thrilled to learn that UK online video platform The Mahagony Sessions uploaded an outstanding performance by Copenhagen-born-and-raised-London-based singer-songwriter Alex Vargas just last week. Flawless is the other word that comes to mind as Vargas adds his Jeff Buckley style guitar work to his goosebump inducing vocals on "Solid Ground", a stellar track he dropped in 2014, the year that also saw the release of his superb eight-track debut EP 'Howl'.

He has a show at L.A. club Bardot coming up on February 9.  There is also a gig at the August 6-9 Ink-N-Iron Festival in Nashville lined up. Check his Facebook page as more 2015 concert dates are (hopefully) added.

NOTE: Vargas is the featured vocalist on last summer's hit single "Blue Sky Action" by British EDM trio Above & Beyond from their album 'We Are All We Need', released this month. (He is featured on five out of sixteen tracks.)

Make sure to check out my post from last March which includes three videos:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Boxed In: Mystery

Boxed In began as a one-man project for London singer-songwriter-producer Oli Bayston, but has since become a quartet. Bayston along with Liam Hutton, Mark Nicholls, and Jack Benfield dropped the self-titled eleven-track debut album January 19; it will be released in North America March 31.

A live action/animation video for the excellent single "Mystery" was published last week; it was directed by Steven Spencer of Birmingham/London based film and animation studio Nice Monster.

The band have a six-date UK mini-tour coming up February 10-15 (the February 12 London show has already sold out.)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Amason: Duvan

There is something delightfully off beat about pretty much every aspect of Amason: from their name (a vintage Volvo model) to their sound, videos, and photos.

The stellar bouncy single "Duvan" [the dove] was released in October; the debut full-length 'Sky City' drops January 27.

The accompanying clip directed by Tobias Centerwall features the band members resembling large headed paper dolls as well as a group of somewhat eerie figures with windblown hair moving through an urban landscape. What's not to love?

The Swedish supergroup consisting of Gustav Ejstes (Dungen), Amanda Bergman (Idiot Wind), Nils Tornquist (Little Majorette), Petter Winnberg (Little Majorette) and Pontus Winnberg (Miike Snow) have four shows coming up this month and in Mid-February around Sweden; they also have a gig scheduled in Oslo January 28.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Amazing: Picture You

Swedish band The Amazing have a new full-length coming out February 17: 'Picture You' follows their self-titled debut as well as the sophomore album 'Gentle Stream', released in 2011.

The teaser single and title song is no less than 9:35 minutes long, yet every second is sweet music to the ears when it's as good as this dreamy track filled with gorgeous guitar and keyboard sounds supported by a solid rhythm section.

No concerts are scheduled at this point, but check the Facebook page for updates.

While not wildly stimulating, the video in fact works surprisingly well with its languid pace and black/white footage of people strolling along city streets. The clip was created by London based design studio Shilling and Shilling.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Son Little: Cross My Heart + Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heart Aches

There is an enormous amount of music released every week and it can be difficult to keep up. Thus I came close to missing out on the outstanding six-track EP 'Things I Forgot' by Son Little which dropped in November on ANTI Records.

Born Aaron Livingston in L.A., the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist grew up in Queens, NYC and moved to Philadelphia in his early 20s, collaborated with The Roots and Rjd2 before releasing his own material under his birth name and starting in 2013, under Son Little.

On the beautiful acoustic ballad "Cross My Heart" he channels Bob Marley and Sam Cooke to the point where I got goose bumps. On the excellent "Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heart Aches" the Marley/Cooke inspiration is also very evident. Still, Son Little is his own man with an unmistakable voice and sound.

He has a free gig coming up January 17 in Philly; details in first link below: