Sunday, March 19, 2017

REMI: Lose Sleep + For Good + Ode To Ignorance + Livin'

 Sensible J + Remi (third member Dutch stepped out for a moment?)

REMI are an established name in their native Australia and have toured in the UK/continental Europe in the last few years, but the North American market has so far eluded rapper Remi Kolawole, Justin Smith aka Sensible J (drums/production/DJ) and Daniel 'Dutch' Siwes (beats/production). Founded in 2011 as the hip hop collective Run For Your Life, REMI are now part of The House of Beige, the small label started up by Smith and Remi in 2015.

For those in the U.S./Canada and anywhere else in the world who have not yet discovered this superb Melbourne trio, there is much to delve into. I highly recommend taking a couple of hours to listen to the entire two full-length albums 'Divas and Demons' (2016) 'Raw X Infinity' (2014) -  both are utterly outstanding, there is simply not a bad track in the bunch which is exceedingly rare for most albums.

Gigs: Lucky old and new fans in France will have the opportunity to experience REMI next week as well as in April and in June: they have two shows at Comedie Bastille in Paris March 25 + April 29 + June 22 as well as at Theatre de Jeanne in Nantes April 22 and 23.

Hopefully it won't be long before they'll be booked for a big North American tour. Spread the word, people!

I could have easily posted a string of excellent REMI videos, but narrowed it down to four stellar clips: two accompanying "Livin´" and "Ode to Ignorance" from 'Raw X Infinity' plus "Lose Sleep" and "For Good" from 'Divas and Demons'.  (Note: the director links are listed below.)  ("Lose Sleep" & "Ode to Ignorance" videos)    ("For Good" video)  ("Livin'" video)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hannah Epperson: Story (Amelia) + Shadowless

Hailing from Salt Lake City, singer/violinist Hannah Epperson is now based in Brooklyn. Her debut full-length 'Upsweep' dropped last fall and includes the stellar song "Story (Amelia)". She has also released titles via Bandcamp: the outstanding "Shadowless" can be found on the 2015 two-track EP 'Burn".

NOTE: The 'Upsweep' album is Volume I of a two-volume "exploration in bifurcated songwriting and production." Volume II will be out at the end of this year.

Tour: Epperson has two concerts scheduled in Brooklyn this month: March 9 and 15. Between May 26 and June 15 she will be performing a total of eight shows in Germany and Switzerland, a few of which are festival gigs.

The two excellent accompanying videos suit the intricate sound tapestry weaved by Epperson: "Story" was co-directed by the artist herself and NYC film maker Jake Saner; "Shadowless" was directed by Vancouver film maker Brianne Nord-Stewart.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Charlotte OC: Darkest Hour

Charlotte Mary O'Connor aka Charlotte OC has been poised for stardom for nearly a decade since the age of 18, but it has so far eluded her. Why some artists/bands blow up early in their career and others struggle for years to get wider recognition can seem like a mystery. A lot has to do with being in the right place at the right time, not to mention connecting with the right manager and label. A little luck doesn't hurt either.

After three EPs and a handful of singles, perhaps 2017 will be the year that the Malawian-Indian-Irish, Blackburn, Lancashire native enjoys her definitive breakthrough on the heels of the eleven-track debut full-length 'Careless People' release March 31 on Harvest Records. The acclaimed label dropped the three teaser songs/singles "Blackout" and "Darkest Hour" last year and "Medicine Man" last month.

While all tracks are excellent, a voice as powerful and emotive as that of Charlotte OC doesn't need a three-ring-circus presentation; a simple stage and a spotlight production approach is sufficient. Case in point: the highly polished studio recording of "Darkest Hour" heard in the official glossy video, versus the very simple and lovely clip capturing her raw, utterly fearless, tour de force live performance of the same song in front of a spell bound audience at a low key Sofar Sounds show in London last September.

At this point, the singer-songwriter has a few concert dates scheduled; hopefully she'll favor the aforementioned low key live setting when playing in Berlin March 21 and London April 19.  A summer festival gig has also been announced: (the last!) Secret Garden Party in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire July 20-23.