Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Only a few days are left of 2016, and so once again, it's time for me to pick The Diamond Dozen: my favorite 12 music videos that I posted on The Nightfly this year.
As always when I make my picks, live performance clips or videos published last year were not taken into consideration; only official music videos published this year qualify. Moreover, both video and song had to truly blow me away.
I dedicate this last post of the year to the four giants that we lost in 2016: David Bowie in January, Prince in April, Leonard Cohen in November and George Michael on Xmas Day; may they rest in peace. And to quote ABBA: Thank you for the music.
A Very Happy New Year to my lovely readers all over the world - thanks so much for "tuning in" to The Nightfly music blog, my ad free, labor-of-love, one-woman operation since 2008 - come back and visit often in 2017!!!
NOTE: Below each video is a link to my original post.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Nottingham quartet Amber Run put an early Xmas present under the tree last week: the third teaser video from their upcoming second full-length 'For a Moment, I Was Lost', out February 17. Directed by Bristol based filmmaker Daniel Broadley, the clip for the superb song "No Answers" is a rehearsal room style shoot that might induce motion sickness in the viewer towards the end, but is refreshingly no-frills.
The first and second teaser videos were published in October and April. The outstanding tracks "Stranger" and "Haze" were directed by William Jones and Alessandra Kurr, respectively.
(Speaking of stellar videos: the band released their debut album '5 am' in April of last year which included the gorgeous hymn "I Found"; the track was accompanied by a clip that is both disturbing and moving.)
Amber Run will be touring the UK most of February. (oddly, no shows outside the UK have been announced so far.)
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Ryan Adam's 16th solo album 'Prisoner' won't be out until February 17, but, just in time for Xmas, he has uploaded the audio for the fantastic opening track on the twelve-song collection which originally had been scheduled for release last month.
"Do You Still Love Me?" opens with an organ that would be more at home at a funeral than a wedding - perhaps the choice was inspired by his recent divorce. The guitar that follows sends the listener back to the 1980s (I half-expected Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" to kick in) or even further back to Led Zeppelin's glory days. It's the perfect delicious rock smoothie to which Adams of course as usual adds his highly distinctive touches.
When promoting a new album, many artists/bands choose to make the rounds on the various late night talk shows. But why be predictable and boring when you can can appear on the Lil Bub show? The five-year-old ridiculously cute celebrity cat in Bloomington, Indiana lives with recording studio owner Mike Bridavsky who adopted her in 2011 and wisely uses the show in part to get out the vital message for people to spay/neuter their pets. He also donates much of the profits from merchandise sales to animal rescue groups.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
Yeah, I know it's right up there with John Lennon singing 'Imagine", but hey, it's almost Xmas so bear with me for a moment or two.
Wouldn't it be nice if, rather than left to
British director Sam Pilling's tragic-comic, powerful and sublime video accompanying DJ Shadow's superb track "Nobody Speak" featuring El-P and Killer Mike aka Run the Jewels from the 2016 album 'The Mountain Will Fall' was published in August. Included in the notes on YouTube is the following delightful dead pan statement from DJ Shadow himself:
"We wanted to make a positive, life-affirming video that captures politicians at their election-year best. We got this instead."
Monday, December 5, 2016
London band Native Dancer was founded in 2013; it was named after Wayne Shorter's 1974 album, and like Shorter they are fearless sonic explorers: by mixing their favorite genres pop, soul, electronica, be-bop, hip hop, trip-hop and rock, the quintet has managed to come up with a sound that is remarkably distinct and utterly irresistible.
Jonathan Harvey (bass), Sam Crowe (keys), Joshua Blackmore (drums) and Josh Arcoleo (sax) all display truly outstanding musicianship; however, the group's ace is Frida Mariama Touray whose formidable voice is one of the finest I've ever heard.
Born and raised in Sweden, the 26-year-old vocalist has been living in the UK since 2010. Her resume is impressive: a Bachelor degree in popular music performance from the British and Irish Modern Music Institute aka BIMM Institute, steady work with Lianne La Havas among others, plus playing in several bands. She dropped the excellent solo EP 'Mamas Fiestis' in 2011, but in Native Dancer she seems to have found her musical home, releasing two stellar EPs with the band and regularly playing live with the lads.
Native Dancer will be performing at next year's SXSW Festival in Austin (March 13 - 19) which will hopefully attract industry attention in the States as well as gain them many new American fans.
The superb live performance of the song "Pixies" was filmed in London on October 20 as part of the ongoing concert series SoFar (Songs From a Room). (NOTE: "Pixies" is not included on either of the band's two EPs and so must be a recent composition.)
The beautiful video for the sublime track "In Clouds" off the 2016 EP 'Vol II' was directed by London based photographer Tom Griffiths.
Monday, November 28, 2016
"We are a bit secretive because we want our art to be our identity. If you really want to know us you can always come to one of our gigs."
Mystery band Easy Wanderlings was founded in March 2015 and are based in India. The line up seems to change from one performance to the other.
This fall they performed in Bombay/Mumbai and in Bangalore/Bengaluru as part of the ongoing concert series SoFar [Songs From a Room.] The live performances of the stellar songs "Enjoy It While You Can" and "Faces" are both wonderful; make sure however to also listen to the studio versions on SoundCloud.
Monday, November 21, 2016
|After Parish, before Bacon|
Drummer and co-founder
Danny Bacon has now replaced Parish and will join singer Lou Hill, bassist Gareth Jones and guitarist Darrel Hawkins for a show on home turf at The Waiting Room this Friday night November 25.
Brighton film maker/animator Jeb Hardwick directed three excellent and very different videos to go with the utterly stunning album tracks "A Is for Apple", "Temper Gold" and "100 Cymbals" (the latter is a 360 degree clip: use the arrows in the top left corner to get the full effect.)
https://oli.lnk.to/livetogetherAW (music service options)
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
London band Palace have been touring continental Europe this month and have six UK shows scheduled for the next two weeks.
They released the EP 'Lost in the Night' in 2014, followed up with the EP 'Chase the Light' in 2015 and dropped their eleven-track debut full-length 'So Long Forever' November 4.
A video was published already in late September to accompany the gorgeous track "Holy Smoke" off the new album.
Friday, November 11, 2016
|At age 35. Photo by Irving Penn for Vogue, 1969|
Another giant has fallen. Canadian poet and singer Leonard Cohen, one of the finest songwriters of our time, passed away peacefully Monday November 7 in his home in Hancock Park in Los Angeles at the age of 82. His acclaimed fourteenth studio album 'You Want It Darker' was released October 21. Recorded mostly at home, it was produced by his son Adam Cohen.
His songs have been covered by many, among the very best and most famous versions are "Suzanne" by Judy Collins and "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley.
But today I wanted to hear the man himself and chose the haunting live performance of "A Thousand Kisses Deep" from his 2012-2013 world tour.
Leonard Cohen, September 21, 1934 - November 7, 2016. R.I.P.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Brooklyn trio Glass Gang attracted attention with their mixtape in 2014, but it is the outstanding five-track debut EP '1 For None' released last week that ought to propel them towards the same level of rabid adoration enjoyed by the giants they cite as inspirations, chiefly The Cure, Bauhaus, and Sisters of Mercy. (I would add genius melody makers Depeche Mode to that list of influences.) Like Depeche Mode and The Cure in particular, Glass Gang have wisely realized that "catchy chorus" and "catchy tune" are not dirty words and that music which is most frequently termed dark and gothic can sound as sunny as the brightest pop gem.
A gorgeous, semi-creepy black/white video was made to accompany the superb single "Outside Your Love" and published in June. The clip was directed by filmmaker and photographer Taylor Antisdel.
The three members of Glass Gang (who have so far declined to give their names to the press) will perform three debut UK shows: Leeds on November 6, London November 8, Brighton November 9.
NOTE: Make sure to listen to all five EP tracks on Soundcloud - there's not a bad apple in the bunch.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Last week virtually unknown Copenhagen trio Off Bloom performed their superb song "Love to Hate It" at the annual prestigious P3 Guld award bash and pretty much stole the show which was an otherwise oddly lackluster affair despite the impressive bill of nominated artists and bands, including Alex Vargas and Phlake (there was also a guest performance by MØ.)
Things finally heated up on stage when wonderfully confident powerhouse singer Mette Mortensen along with sound wizards Alexander Flockhart + Mads Christian Damgaard began their national Danish television debut by having half a dozen introductory sentences projected onto a screen, ending with "We've been working on our music for three years straight without releasing anything. We're ready now." And as the live video proves, indeed they were.
The five-track EP "Love to Hate It" was released October 21. The accompanying official video was published the day before; it was shot by Danish director Nadia Marquard Otzen who works in both Copenhagen and London.
Sunday, October 23, 2016
21-year-old Portuguese-Swedish singer-songwriter Fanny de Aguiar hails from Gothenburg, but relocated to Stockholm after coming fifth in Idol in 2014 and getting signed to Space Station 12, a new record label founded by Per Gessle of Roxette fame. (The label announced a partnership with BMG Scandinavia earlier this year.)
Her debut single "Sinking Deep" dropped October 7 and the accompanying b/w video was published this week.
Openly gay and a proud feminist with a distinct fashion style plus killer cheekbones, the artist has 42.9k followers on Instagram. What's important in a musical context however is that she has a stunning voice which is showcased to full effect on "Sinking Deep", a truly gorgeous spine chiller of a song that proves that Roxette - and ABBA - have not lived in vain. (I love the slight Swedish accent when she sings the words "gone" and "more" - very Agnetha/Frida.)
2017 could well turn out to be a banner year for de Aguiar who turns 22 on January 13, but it's going to take a handful of great songs and excellent videos, not to mention extensive touring. Let's hope she, Space Station 12 and BMG are up to the task.
https://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/fanny-de-aguiar/id941079518 (iTunes Australia)
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Jamie Lidell dropped his seventh full-length 'Building a Beginning' October 14. It's his second album since relocating from NYC to Nashville in 2012, the same year he married longtime girlfriend, photographer Lindsey Rome who did the excellent double mug shot of hubby above. Rome is also credited as co-lyricist on the fourteen songs celebrating their marital bliss and toddler son Julian.
Outstanding lead single "Walk Right Back" sounds as if someone discovered a superb Hall & Oates track in a vault somewhere and did a stellar remix job on it.
The accompanying trippy video was created by Swedish animator, illustrator and graphic designer Leolyxxx.
The 43-year-old Brit and his band The Royal Pharaohs kicked off their continental Europe/UK fall tour in Barcelona this week. They will be headlining all of the scheduled shows, but will be finishing the tour at the five-day Ahoi Festival in Linz, Austria on November 4.
Sunday, October 9, 2016
I'm going to make it short and sweet today.
London singer-songwriter Cameron Bloomfield performed a gorgeous new tune "Talk" back in July as part of the ongoing concert series Sofar (Songs From a Room).
"Talk" has not been released yet, but two older songs of his are available on Bandcamp: "Lost" (original) and "Juicy" (cover).
Monday, October 3, 2016
27-year-old rapper Eivind Øygarden aka Ivan Ave grew up in the famed Telemark county in north-eastern Norway, but is now firmly based in Oslo where he works as a grade school teacher and is part of the creative collective Mutual Intentions. Who says you can't be a superhero both day and night?
After collaborating with Norwegian producer/DJ Fredfades on several stellar albums, Ivan Ave released his debut solo full-length in early 2016 on German label Jakarta Records. The eleven outstanding tracks on 'Helping Hands' were produced by Mndsgn who will also be producing the next album.
The sublime "Free Shit" as well as the outstanding "I Do" (Featuring Nanna B.), and "The Circle" all showcase Ivan Ave's superb voice and style to great effect.
The videos leave something to be desired, but they do possess a certain DIY charm.
The artist played a number of solo, supportive and festival shows in the UK and continental Europe this year, but currently there are no gigs listed on Facebook or on Songkick.
NOTE: I blogged about Mndsgn last week:
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Beginning in 2009, rural South New Jersey-raised Filipino-American producer Ringgo Ancheta aka Mndsgn [pronounced 'mind design'] put out a handful of excellent solo and collaborative EPs and mixtapes before signing with renowned L.A. label Stones Throw Records in 2014. His debut studio full-length 'Yawn Zen' was released that same year. This month he dropped his second studio album 'Body Wash' consisting of 16 tracks, including the superb "Cosmic Perspective".
Two accompanying videos have been published, both of which include frustratingly familiar aspects of Los Angeles: homelessness and wacky gurus. However, by adding a sci-fi theme and plenty of camp, the clips become more than palatable. They were directed and edited by Eric Coleman. (Mndsgn co-created and co-produced along with girlfriend Alima Jennings and Shane Sakanoi.)
A few shows are coming up next month: October 14 in Denver and October 20 in Philadelphia. (Also on the bill in Denver is Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf aka Chris Manak. The label celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.)
VIDEO UPDATE December 2016:
It's every music blogger's worst nightmare and it sadly happens quite often: returning to an older entry and discovering that the video posted has been made "private" by the account holder on YouTube, either the label or the artist/band. This is sometimes due to copyright issues, but whatever the reason, it utterly sucks. And in this case, it's not one, but two videos.
I could delete the entire entry, but I'm choosing in this case to leave it up as food for thought.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
I've long been a fan of skateboarding and surfing, both of which are such a huge part of the unique Southern California culture and vibe. Thus it was a thrill to come across an outstanding video on YouTube featuring renowned Madrid-born-and-raised skater Kilian Martin, directed by established Los Angeles based filmmaker Brett Novak, also a skater himself.
Altered Route was shot at the defunct Lake Dolores Waterpark in the Mojave Desert in 2012 and makes great use of the location. Not surprisingly, the place has been a favorite haunt of vandals and thieves since the permanent closing of the park in 2004; still, it retains a strange, surreal beauty.
Novak has directed several Kilian Martin videos and every one of them is as stunning and poetic as Altered Route: my favorites are Searching Sirocco (2015) and India Within (2013).
Note: Be sure to check out Novak's YouTube channel for his other stellar skater films.
The music chosen for the three clips fits perfectly with the images:
Altered Route: Patrick Watson
Searching Sirocco: also Patrick Watson
India Within: Other Lives
Friday, September 16, 2016
|India, March 7, 2006 - September 15, 2016 R.I.P.|
My brother and his family north of Copenhagen said goodbye to their beloved dog India yesterday. An extraordinarily beautiful and sweet tempered tricolor Cavalier King Charles spaniel, she was loved, treasured and enjoyed a very good life.
Man's best friend indeed, a dog is truly a most remarkable animal, giving back ten-fold the love it receives. If you have the time and affection a dog richly deserves, the years spent with a canine companion will be some of the best of your life.
I chose "Midnight" by Coldplay for this post simply because it's a hauntingly beautiful song that is matched by the superb video created by filmmaker Mary Wigmore. The track is from the band's 2014 album "Ghost Stories".
Sunday, September 11, 2016
After releasing three acclaimed EPs in five years, Copenhagen producer Patrick Alexander Beck-Madsen aka Sekuoia is ready to drop his debut full-length 'Flac' on September 16. For the superb track "Brace" he recruited Marc Roland of Danish band Kentaur: the collaboration proves to be a match made in heaven, with Roland's extraordinary vocals blending so perfectly into the intoxicating soundscape that one wishes for an entire Sekuoia/Roland album.
Sekuoia has two dozen shows lined up this fall: he kicks off the tour in Denmark September 29 (Århus) and also wraps it up in Denmark November 26 (Esbjerg.) In between those two dates he'll be performing in numerous cities around continental Europe, including in Norway and Finland. There is also a single gig in London (October 8).
Marc Roland is given a supporting role in the accompanying video which stars the wonderful German actor Stephan Koch. The stellar clip was directed by Faraz Shariat and produced by Paulina Lorenz of Hildesheim based filmmaker team Jünglinge. Director Shariat has once again created a work of art that is in fact more a short film with music, rather than a standard music video. In his beautiful films, devoid of sentimentality, the lead characters are always treated with great compassion, never with pity. Expertly helped by luminous acting performance, the viewer is treated to a 3-4 minute magical and dignified glimpse into the life of a human being, something that far too many feature film makers fail to accomplish over the course of 90 or 120 minutes.
Speaking of feature films: The Jünglinge team are currently writing the script for their first feature film, a coming of age story and are in the process of casting as well as finding co-producers and sponsors.
Read my December 2015 interview with Faraz Shariat here:
And be sure to watch more exceptional work by Jünglinge. (Note: their video "Frogs" won 3rd Place in the Best Narrative category at the Berlin Music Video Awards in May. )
Monday, September 5, 2016
Exactly two years ago Cherie Jones aka JONES uploaded the track "Deep" to SoundCloud, in May of last year the debut EP 'Indulge' came out, and on October 7 she drops the 12-track debut full-length 'New Skin'. The attention enjoyed so far is well-deserved and hopefully JONES' smooth-as-honey voice and excellent songwriting will gain her as many fans as Lykke Li and Little Dragon, two of her contemporaries and - according to the artist herself - biggest inspirations.
JONES has been busy playing festivals this summer and there are three fall festivals performances in Amsterdam, Hamburg and Paris coming up. First up however is a gig on September 9 in Melbourne. And between October 12 and 18 she has five UK shows scheduled.
The outstanding tracks "Melt", "Hoops" and "Indulge" are all included on the upcoming album.
Note: Make sure to listen to the stellar acoustic versions of her songs on SoundCloud.
The playful videos for "Melt" and "Hoops" were shot by London based director David Silis. The sensual black/white clip that accompanies" Indulge" was made by Norwegian director Jon Olav Stokke, also London based.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Copenhagen duo Kenton Slash Demon are signed to prestigious Australian label Future Classic which released their latest single, the superb track "Peace" in June.
KSD is a side project-turned-full time-project for Jonas Kenton and Silas Moldenhawer of acclaimed Danish band When Saints Go Machine. The friends have been making music since their early teens and in fact dropped two house EPs as early as 2006 and 2007, the latter being the year WSGM was founded.
The two are currently touring and are part of the line up at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles tonight after which they head to Club Vinyl in Denver for Saturday night show. Between August 29 and September 7 they have eight US East Coast gigs opening for their Future Classic label mate Flume. The duo also has several European festival/headliner appearances scheduled for the rest of September, plus a show in Stavanger, Norway on October 1.
The stellar black/white video that accompanies "Peace" was created by Copenhagen based director/editor Jenna Mangulad.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
I find myself increasingly turning to Sofar Sounds to discover all types of new artists/bands. The ongoing concert series hosted in intimate indoor or outdoor venues with only a handful, attentive guests attending, is a simple but brilliant concept with a clever acronym (SOngs From A Room), and has spread to many cities around the world.
It was while browsing SoFar Los Angeles on YouTube that I came across singer-songwriter Jerome Holloway. I listened to his earlier versions of "Whole of Me", and while they are excellent, it was this Sofar live performance that completely blew me away.
Filmed in Malibu on April 23 by Nancy Cardenas, Nate MacNabb, Sam Silver and Mateo Barragan (audio), Holloway's light-as-air flawless vocals and guitar playing perfectly complement the sunny setting. His voice on this particular occasion calls to mind two of his biggest inspirations Marvin Gaye and Damien Rice, yet he very much adds something special to the mix that gives the whole scene a Laurel Canyon sound and vibe. It's easy to picture Holloway hanging out with Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills & Nash and the Mamas & the Papas in the late 1960s. And I can just as easily imagine him on stage at Woodstock in August of 1969, singing to half a million peaceful souls.
Born and raised in the Kalamazoo, Michigan area, he moved to Chicago just over a decade ago and began performing on a regular basis before relocating to Los Angeles around 2012, soon playing small, well-known venues around the city as well as other West Coast cities, including Portland.
The seven-track debut EP 'Matters of the Heart' was released in 2008 and was followed up in 2011 with the EP 'Sunday Morning Night Music', also containing seven tracks. The studio version of "Whole of Me" is found alongside "Troubling Times" on the single by the same name; it dropped in 2014. More recently, a collection of five superb live-in-the-studio performances (including "Whole of Me") was released by Audiotree Music in the summer of 2015.
Holloway is currently working on presenting a live musical piece entitled The Ballad of Lucky St. Clair for which he has written and recorded the score. A live performance of the first movement as well as the release of the score will take place in November in L.A.
As far as regular upcoming gigs, he'll be part of the line up at the one-day Taste of Soul Festival in Atlanta Saturday, September 10.
Monday, August 15, 2016
I was watching the first season of the American show Flaked on Netflix a few days ago. Starring Will Arnett, it takes place in Venice and is shot on location. It's a pretty good show actually; a second season will premiere in 2017. (my favorite character is 'Cooler' played by George Basil who manages to give his character just the perfect amount of Southern California "dudeness".)
But what really got my attention was the music: wonderful little snippets provide the show with that unique laid back, sunny, Southern California vibe. The excellent soundtrack is a mix of known and lesser known artists/bands (search for it on YouTube where several users have uploaded the songs that are featured on the soundtrack). One track in the first episode was quite different than the rest, and my curiosity about the song set me on an obsessive Google search.
What is already well-known: for a couple of years, Brittany Tolman did keys/backing vocals for Imagine Dragons, co-founded by her drummer husband Andrew Tolman. They both left ID in 2011; by all accounts, it was an amicable split. Andrew joined The Moth & The Flame that same year.
What is not common knowledge: Brittany co-founded L.A. based quartet Mount Saint in 2013 with brothers Clint Holgate and Calvin Riley Holgate plus Drew Beck.; Andrew Tolman played drums in the studio.
The band released their four-track self-titled debut EP in January 2015, they played shows, they gave a few interviews, they made announcements on social media. And then POOF! Mount Saint seemingly disappeared into thin air.
The members themselves are alive and well - Brittany apparently lives in Portland, Oregon as we speak - but the Twitter/Facebook Mount Saint accounts went dormant last year, and no news from 2016 are to be found on the web. Fortunately, this year, someone had the brilliant idea to place their song "Excuses" in Flaked. Whether the placement will generate a renewed interest in Mount Saint remains to be seen; it greatly depends on the success of the show's first season (eight episodes.)
With this blog entry I hope to help spread the word on the band-that-came-and-went. The entire EP is superb, but "Excuses" is the track that continues to give me chills, and is the kind of song that should have been a monster hit last year. Perhaps it's not too late?
https://soundcloud.com/mount-saint (make sure to listen to all four EP tracks)
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
After releasing the double musical treat "The Spoils/Come Near Me" on July 29, and publishing a clip to go with "Come Near Me" on the same day, Massive Attack today followed up with a video starring Cate Blanchett to accompany the sublime track "The Spoils" which features the beautiful vocals of Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star); she has collaborated with the band on two previous occasions. Created by renowned Australian director John Hillcoat, the video includes eerie and impressive sculptures by Lone Wolf Effects.
Grant Marshall and Robert Del Naja have a string of European dates this month; first up are four shows in Scandinavia of which the first three are festival gigs: Oslo Aug 10, Helsinki Aug 12, Gothenburg Aug 13, Copenhagen Aug 16 . The duo also has a sold out concert in their hometown of Bristol on September 3.
Saturday, August 6, 2016
29-year-old acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Olafur Arnalds has been traveling around Iceland this summer, recording with various Icelandic musicians/singers (plus one poet) in seven different locations and dropping one track/video each week. Simple yet brilliant concept.
The sixth song/video was released this week and features vocalist Nanna Bryndis (Of Monsters and Men); the stunning performance took place in a lighthouse in Garour where Bryndis grew up. It really doesn't get much cooler than that.
The clip was shot by Icelandic director Baldvin Zophoniasson aka Balvin Z.
NOTE: The seventh and final track/clip in this beautiful 'Island Songs' series drops August 8 and will be recorded in Reykjavik where Arnalds is based.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
Self-taught multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter Natasha Sultana aka Tash Sultana began playing the guitar at age three and started busking on the streets of Melbourne as a teenager. Now 21, the Maltese-Australian one-woman band is performing at sold out venues all around her native country and will also be taking her show to the UK, Germany and Holland in September for five dates. (Just announced: tickets for several U.S. gigs go on sale in September)
Her latest digital releases are the superb "Gemini"and "Notion"; the singles dropped in April and June, respectively. The accompanying live performance videos recorded in her home showcase the immense virtuosity and passion she brings to her music. At times her gorgeous guitar work and vocal styling eerily recalls the late great Jeff Buckley; however Sultana is very much carving out a place of her own in the world of music, attracting new fans worldwide every day.
Note: Sultana will be opening for The Temper Trap and Garbage in late November and early December.
http://www.tashsultana.com/ (includes tour schedule)
Monday, July 25, 2016
|Merner, Stachowiak, Szatt|
Polish trio Kroki was formed only last fall by Jaq Merner, Pawel Stachowiak and Szatt. On October 10 they delivered an outstanding show in Warsaw as part of the ongoing international concert series Sofar, performing "Who You Are" and "Eyes"; on both songs Merner's gorgeous vocals float atop the superb soundscape co-created with Szatt and Stachowiak. ("Who You Are" is available on BandCamp)
The band has four gigs coming up on home turf in August and September. Let's hope there's an EP or full-length on the way as well as tours outside Poland.
NOTE: Be sure to also listen to the stellar tracks on Szatt's and Merner's respective Soundcloud pages. (Bassist Stachowiak does not appear to have a Soundcloud account.)
https://www.sofarsounds.com/ (Songs From A Room)
Saturday, July 16, 2016
Behind the mysterious (and eh, slightly creepy) moniker Stalking Gia is 22-year-old Tiffany Giardina. Born and raised in NYC where she is still based, the singer-songwriter got her start as a kid acting in musical theater, commercials and more. In her early teens she released two full-length albums and three singles of which two were included on feature film soundtracks.
She went on to write or co-write for other recording artists before focusing on solo-projects: the stellar "War Paint" came out in 2014 and was followed up with the excellent "Born Free" in 2015.
Last month, she dropped the superb single "Second Nature"; the accompanying video was created by director Jesse DeFlorio and cinematographer Seth Illif was published this week; both are L.A. based.
Giardina has found a mature, sophisticated sound that fits her like a glove. Sadly, her videos on YouTube have a low number of views. And - judging from a Google search - she is not receiving the attention from music blogs/the mainstream media that she deserves. Here's hoping that will change in the near future.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Kevin Parker of Tame Impala was attending a concert in 2014 in Fremantle, watching local hip hop trio Child's Play and jazz quartet Kashikoi fusing their sounds into one. Liking what he heard, he approached the guys after the gig and asked the band's name; the seven musicians coined a new one for themselves and became Koi Child.
Parker offered them a supporting slot at the annual Rottofest (held in September on Rottnest Island) and ended up co-producing/mixing the band's first single "Slow One". A second single "Black Panda" followed in 2015.
The band's 14-track self-titled debut full-length dropped in March of this year and includes both tracks plus the latest single, the outstanding "1-5-9" which calls to mind a trippy back-to-the-future jam session featuring Weather Report and The Roots.
Five Australian shows are scheduled between August 19-27.
Videos: "1-5-9" was created by Tay Kaka and Sam Shields aka RLSM Creative Studio. "Black Panda" was directed by Matsu Photography.
Cruz Patterson, vocals
Christian Ruggiero, tenor sax
Jamie Canny, alto sax
Sam Newman, trombone
Tom Kenny, keys
Blake Hart, drums
Yann Vissac, bass
http://koichild.com/ (includes tour schedule)
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Thankfully, former Paramore drummer Zac Farro has not abandoned HalfNoise, the project he founded with Jason Clark in 2010: an upcoming full-length was preceded last month with the release of the teaser "Know the Feeling" which now also has a fun, cheesy, back-to-the-80s video, shot by fellow Nashville creative, director Aaron Joseph.
The three previous almost impossibly gorgeous singles "Hurricane Love" and "Mountain" (off the 2014 full-length 'Volcano Crowe') plus "Free The House" (from the self-titled 2012 debut EP) made fans hungry for more and Farro does not disappoint with the new single: "Know the Feeling" is truly glorious.
Note: The musicians featured in the "Know the Feeling" clip are Matthew Shaw, Anthony Woodland, Ricardo Alessio and Cobey Arner.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Born and raised in Edmonton, Ethiopian-Canadian Ruth Berhe aka Ruth B was inspired to post a six-second clip on her Vine profile in late 2014 after binge watching the popular American TV series Once Upon a Time. Up until then she had focused on doing covers, but thousands of fellow Vine users began encouraging her to compose a complete song, using her original line, advice that she wisely took to heart. The result was the beautiful ballad "Lost Boy" which was included on her debut four-track EP, 'The Intro', released in November 2015 on Columbia. (A debut full-length will drop later this year or in early 2017. )
Blessed with a flawless voice and impressive pianist skills, the singer-songwriter who turns 21 on July 2 has already done a few live shows in the U.S. and has also performed on American daytime TV. As of today, she has two shows coming up, but no doubt many more will be added following her album release.
The official "Lost Boy" video was published in May and is by UK director Emil Nava, now U.S. based.
Last November and December, four live performance videos were uploaded: one for each of the stellar tracks on her EP: "Golden", "Superficial Love", "Two Poor Kids" and "Lost Boy".
Monday, June 20, 2016
Many bands have broken up due to severe burn out, often caused by constant touring. After reaching this point, Two Door Cinema Club wisely opted for a very long break before regrouping and recording their third studio album "Gameshow", their first full-length since "Beacon" was released in 2012.
The Bangor, Northern Ireland trio won't be dropping the new collection of songs until October 14, but the lads have published the outstanding teaser track "Are We Ready? (Wreck)" to whet our appetites; hopefully a regular music video will follow the June 14 audio upload.
UPDATE: A comic video of the nightmarish kind was published July 6; the clip was directed by Auckland based director duo Sean Wallace and Jordan Dodson aka Thunderlips.
The band's busy summer and fall festival tour began June 3 in the U.S. and will also conclude in the U.S., with two weekend performances at the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival September 30 - October 2 & October 7 - 9. In between they'll be playing a string of shows in the UK, continental Europe and Asia. (Note: TDCC are also part of this year's Lollapalooza lineup in Chicago July 30)
http://twodoorcinemaclub.com/ (includes tour schedule)
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Since Sunday I've been thinking of what to post to honor the many murdered and wounded at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Eventually I decided on a video that I've watched numerous times since last year. I chose it simply because of its beauty: the dancing, the music, the costumes, the location, the mood.
The stunning clip features 27-year-old French-Guadeloupean identical twin brothers Laurent and Larry Bourgeois aka renowned Parisian dance duo Les Twins performing in 2015 in Kyoto with acclaimed Japanese NYC based koto player Yumi Kurosawa.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
After putting out four excellent mixtapes between 2011 and 2014, Jon Bellion is ready to drop his regular debut full-length.The 25-year-old Long Island artist recorded the album at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood; fittingly, it is Capitol Records which will be releasing "The Human Condition" (June 10).
Several teaser singles as well as a video to go with the track "Guillotine" came out earlier in the year. In addition to that clip, two outstanding live performance videos, also recorded at Capitol, were published: "All Time Low" is off the new album; "Run Wild" is taken from his 2014 mixtape 'The Definition'.
Unfortunately, the stellar singers and musicians in the two studio performance clips are not credited in the video notes.
Bellion kicks off his U.S. summer tour in support of the album on June 20 at Royale in Boston and wraps it up with two shows at Webster Hall in NYC July 29 and 30. (the July 29 date is sold out.)
One show in Toronto is scheduled for July 26.
http://www.jonbellion.com/ (incl. tour schedule)
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
A big star in her native Malaysia for just over a decade, 29-year-old singer-songwriter Yunalis Mat Zara'ai aka Yuna has also had some degree of success in the U.S. and Europe. Released May 20, her fourth studio full-length 'Chapters' however may be the album that provides her with the exposure she needs to truly blow up world wide.
A decidedly smart career move is dropping a single featuring Usher who also co-wrote "Crush" (Note: Mac Robinson and Brian Warfield are also listed as co-writers). The song is like an audio version of to-die-for Italian ice cream on a sizzling hot summer day: meticulously crafted, ultra smooth, and impossible to resist.
The excellent video perfectly captures the mad pace of modern city life slowing down for a few precious moments; the clip was shot by Los Angeles based director Daniel Carberry.
Yuna who splits her time between L.A. and Kuala Lumpur regularly tours and has just finished a string of gigs in North America. In September she has several shows scheduled in continental Europe plus one in London.