NENA’s Coming To The States!!!

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NENA coming to America: it’s one of the great unrequited love stories of pop culture history.99 Luftballons” was the first German-language song to enter the US charts since Marlene Dietrich, yet although the pop queen toured all over the world, she never made it over to the US to perform. NENA has continued to rule the charts in Germany with sixteen studio albums and countless hits, and now is finally her time to take America by storm.

In the 33 years since it was released, NENA’s “99 Luftballons” (“99 Red Balloons”) has had an unmatchable impact on popular and music culture.  Although NENA never stopped making music – she’s had a three-and-a-half decade career of hits and 16 studio albums behind her in Germany – and has toured in countries as far as Japan, NENA never got to tour the US. It’s one of those flukes in music history where what should have happened didn’t happen. But in NENA’s own words, “…now’s the right time. It’s always now!…When you want to do something and it just doesn’t happen, you shouldn’t be sad or disappointed because, well, 35 years later, it happens! It’s perfect timing.”

At the heart of NENA is a rock’n’roller with unbeatable stage presence and energy to spare, whether she’s playing to regularly sold-out crowds at the biggest arenas or more intimate club venues. Just take a listen to NENA’s latest outing – the excellent, energetic and rocking live album Live at SO36, recorded during a within-minutes sold-out concert at the famed Berlin club SO36. The opening rocking riffs of “Noch Einmal” NENA struck on her Telecaster sent out a shockwave of energy that carries through an entire night. From pure rockers to new-wave favorites to the touching ballads that fans sing along word-for-word, NENA can electrify a crowd with her incomparable, instantly recognizable voice and her own brand of rock’n’roll that includes influences of The Ramones, Blondie, and Talking Heads, among many others. The dancing never lets up with NENA until the lights finally go on at the end of the night. That’s what NENA is going to ultimately bring to the US – an amazing live energy that can shake an entire audience to its core.

She’s captured the hearts of Germany: her numerous top ten hits and 25 million sold records are proof of that. Now it’s time to share that with America. NENA’s most recent studio album, Oldschool, is the perfect fusion of her constant drive for artistic development and genuine authenticity. Produced and co-written by German hip-hop superstar Samy Deluxe, it blisters with a sense of immediacy and newness while especially playing lyrically with references to her past.

NENA has never been a nostalgia act; she still delivers onstage an exhilarating mix of her amazing and expansive discography. With that much spark, it’s a recipe for an utterly mind-blowing evening. American fans that missed the opportunity to see NENA when they were first introduced to her now have that chance. To paraphrase her latest single, there’s no time like “Genau jetzt” (right now).

NENA will be playing San Francisco on September 30, Los Angeles on October 2, and New York City on October 4.

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Must Listen: Coast Modern – “The Way It Was”

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“Coast Modern debuted with “Hollow Life” and followed it up with “Animals” both jaunty, summery songs with lyrics that go deeper than you might think on first listen. (Check out my post from back in May.)

The Los Angeles duo’s new single is “The Way It Was,” and this time they introduce a surprising electronic element towards the end alongside their usual pop/rock blend.

“With so many songs about ‘better times,’ we thought there’d be no better time to write a song about the wetter times—the lush rainforest of the present. In such a turbulent era, it’s easy to get stuck in the quicksand of nostalgia or tangled in vines of worry. Come on this jungle cruise with us as we explore the wonders of now…because we all know it’s never gonna go back to the way it was.”

Coast Modern Tour Dates:
September 2 – Bumbershoot – Seattle, WA
September 19 – Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR***
September 21 – Commodore – Vancouver, BC***
September 23 – Life is Beautiful – Las Vegas, NV
September 25 – Gothic – Denver, Colorado***
September 27 – Varsity – Minneapolis, MN***
September 28 – Metro – Chicago, IL***
September 29 – Majestic Theatre – Detroit, MI
September 30 – Phoenix – Toronto, ON***
October 1 – The Meadows – Flushing, NY
October 4 – Royale – Boston, MA***
October 5 – TLA – Philadelphia, PA***
October 6 – 930 Club – Washington, DC***
October 8 – Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA***
October 9 – 3rd and Lindsley – Nashville, TN***
October 11 – Granada – Dallas, TX***
October 12 – White Oak – Houston, TX***
October 13 – Emo’s – Austin TX***
October 16 – Observatory North Park – San Diego, CA***
October 17 – Observatory – Orange County, CA***
October 18 – Belasco Theatre – Los Angeles, CA***
October 19 – Warfield – San Francisco, CA***
*** supporting The Temper Trap

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New Music From Krautrockers, Dinowalrus

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“…a heady concoction of swirling mellotron and jangling guitar, a deep Madchester groove that will inspire some serious head-nodding.”Stereogum

“…the magical surrealism that could only come from a band named Dinowalrus”NPR

“…a strange and heady brew of psychedelia, Krautrock, Gang Gang Dance-style electro experimentation and, perhaps most strangely of all, take on late 80s British indie-dance.”The Line of Best Fit

“…will leave you feeling all kinds of happily dazed.”Consequence of Sound

Brooklyn DIY stalwarts Dinowalrus are announcing their latest endeavor – the fourth studio album from the band will be released September 23, and the world can get a preview with the jangling psych-gaze single, “Tides.”

FAIRWEATHER, the fourth album from omnivorous Brooklyn rockers Dinowalrus, sees the quartet refining their potent post-modern psychedelia and distilling the successes of their previous two outings, COMPLEXION and BEST BEHAVIOR, into a coherent and compelling package of eleven single-worthy songs, covering territory ranging from baggy Madchester party beats to melancholy space ballads and perpetual-motion-machine krautrock groovers. After albums marked by exuberance and moodiness, FAIRWEATHER is more even-keeled—the sound of a fundamentally playful band that has attained a steady level of confidence, calm, and poise, even as they bob and weave through their ocean of sounds.

The album begins with psych-rock offerings “Tides” and “Falling to the Periphery,” fueled by jangly guitar and punchy mellotrons, with sunny textures belying a cosmic angst via a ’60s meets ’90s meets 2016 aesthetic. Next, the album’s tempo gradually increases into an acid rock/house-derived middle section anchored by the lumbering squelch of “Guilty,” with frontman Pete Feigenbaum begging for forgiveness: “I’m guilty—do you still believe me?” After the Motorik minimalism of “Light Rain,” the album descends into a murky, shoegazing dreamworld of infinite breakbeats yielding optimistic flashes (“Compass Rose”) and futuristic wall-of-sound doomscapes (“The Silent Earth”).

Produced by the band in their own studio, FAIRWEATHER brings back the excitement and playfulness of their debut album % (PERCENT), while imbuing a newfound sense of refinement and clarity to the mixes, coupling the experience from their recent studio endeavors with more concise and quick-moving yet provocative arrangements.

Although heavily dosed with electronics, FAIRWEATHER contrasts the dystopian industrial arpeggiators of their previous albums with a warm, timeless palette of organs, looped breakbeats, and radio-ready vocals, including the occasional psychedelic flourish of reversed guitars and exploding delay trails. As a result, the music moves forward by looking back, bringing to mind the work of contemporaries like Jagwar Ma, Tame Impala, and Deerhunter, while also incorporating some of the more exciting and psychedelic pop sounds of the early ’90s Creation Records back catalog with aesthetic nods to The House of Love, Primal Scream, and Ride.

Dinowalrus will also be playing a hometown release show at Rough Trade NYC on September 25 (tickets available here). The band will be joined by Sharkmuffin, Dead Leaf Echo, and Drawing Boards.

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FAIRWEATHER Tracklist:
  1. Tides
  2. Falling to the Periphery
  3. Plain Sight
  4. Guilty
  5. The Payoff
  6. Light Rain
  7. Scarcity
  8. Final Wave
  9. Compass Rose
  10. The Silent Earth
  11. The Painted Desert

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Falcon Punch – “Higher”

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Falcon Punch is delivering his first original work as a collaboration with LA-based duo, Wild & Free. After sitting on the instrumental of the song for 3 years, Falcon Punch teamed up with Wild & Free who delivered the vocal performance he’d been patiently waiting for. The combination leads to an easy to love but hard to forget late summer jam.

The cosmic grooves of Falcon Punch are steeped in no particular musical tradition, but rather in a multi-genre background ranging from soul and funk to house and disco. A lifetime musician, producer and DJ Avery Henderson (Falcon Punch) got his start in the electronic/disco scene producing from his tiny dorm room while living in Amsterdam in 2010. The now Colorado based musician, has crafted his sound into what he calls “Dark Island Funk”, a layered guitar melodies, keys and airy vocals, and has had the fortune of spreading it through a multitude of successful digital and vinyl releases.

 

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Cover Of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” By Jake McMullen

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This fall, Nashville-based songwriter Jake McMullen will release a new EP that follows his critically acclaimed Always EP. Today, Ones To Watch premiered McMullen’s cover of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own,” the first single to be released from the EP, and said “Jake McMullen has succeeded beyond our highest expectations. The young singer/songwriter has managed to re-invent the 2010 hit with a brand new, very personal flair.”

“I worked on the song with producer, Micah Tawlks and producer/drummer, Dabney Morris. I have never done a cover song before so it was a fun experience to re-imagine things,” said Jake about the song. “I originally proposed a more ballad-eque down-tempo version of the song when talking with Micah about it. But after a few hours in the studio things just weren’t presenting themselves in the way I imagined. Then Dabney found that pad sound you hear at the beginning and laid down the drum beat and from there things took off and ideas started to come very naturally. The whole process was a lot of fun.”

Jake McMullen is originally from Orange County, CA and relocated to Nashville to pursue his passion for songwriting as a solo artist. In the past, he fronted the rock act York and released a split EP with Ellex Bree. Drawing on influences from James Vincent McMorrow, The National, Johnny Cash and Broken Social Scene, McMullen strives to create honest, relatable songs, unafraid to show vulnerability. Combining elements of folk and indie rock, McMullen’s writing style is mature beyond his years. At only 23 years old, he’s already established himself as an accomplished songwriter.

His debut Always EP has received more than 2,000,000 plays on Spotify and was released to great acclaim. Paste Magazine said his song “If I Go” “…lets you reflect on your own past misfortunes, and McMullen’s soft tones and emotional melodies give that extra tug on the heartstrings.” Consequence of Sound premiered his single “Always” and said “It’s a tenderly sung and played introspective song, brightened by the background harmonies makes for a near perfect indie folk track.”

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Porter Robinson & Madeon!!!

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Speculation and rumors of a collaboration between musicians and longtime friends Porter Robinson and Madeon (Hugo Leclercq) have long been internet fan fodder.

The duo put the rumors to rest dropping a surprise joint single “Shelter” (ft. Madeon on lead vocals) and announce a joint North American that will see the two share the stage for a collaborative live performance ft. music from both artist’s catalogs reworked and re-imagined for the stage.

Each made a name for themselves as solo artists who redefined electronic music from the inside out, expanding the genre from the festival stage to the pop charts and bringing electronic music into the global mainstream with their critically acclaimed debut solo albums, Porter’s Worlds (2014, Astralwerks) and Madeon’s Adventure (2015, Columbia).

 

“Shelter”- a brilliant shimmering, humanity-infused electronic pop – comes at a serendipitous time for the two young artists and sees the duo taking a hands-on approach to the songwriting process. To write, the two decamped to Madeon’s studio in Nantes, France  and the two wrote together in real-time, face-to-face, taking a decidedly old-school approach to the collaboration, inspiring and challenging one-another along the way. The result, “Shelter” is an ode to family ties as much as it’s a pop song that epitomizes their friendship.

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“Both Porter and I started working with people in-person when we started making our respective albums and appreciated how much more collaborative you can get,” Madeon explains of their decision to work together. “Our intent was to make music that would reflect our friendship.”

“I see enthusiasm and inspiration as the most important currency you can have when you’re making music,” Porter adds. “It’s this weird sensation of being drunk on your own confidence and excitement that leads to so many creative breakthroughs. That effect was really exaggerated when we were working together.”

While this collaboration is a first for the two artists, they have played a pivotal role in each other’s work over the past decade of their young careers, providing feedback—sometimes brutally honest—about each other’s solo work. This laid the groundwork for a successful partnership. Having first met on an internet message board a decade ago as young Daft Punk fans who wanted to produce music, Porter and Madeon have pursued distinct but coincidentally parallel careers to become electronic music creators of their own, each has emerged out of the electronic music scene to become crossover electronic pop powerhouses.

Porter first caught the ears of tastemakers in 2010 with his track “Say My Name.” An EP on Skrillex’s OWSLA label followed and he signed to the venerated Astralwerks in 2013 when he was all of 21. The next year he released his debut artist album, Worlds, an expansive LP that included the songs “Divinity” (as heard in Google’s “Year in Search” commercial) and the landmark “Sea of Voices.” Worlds debuted in Billboard’s Top 20 and prompted the launch of the Worlds Tour, an interactive live show as ambitious at the album it was named for.

Madeon first came to global attention with his game-changing video and track “Pop Culture” in 2011. Early last year, he released his highly-anticipated debut album, Adventure, which spawned the singles “You’re On,” co-written with Jimmy Napes (Sam Smith, Disclosure), and “Home.” Having sharpened his live skills as an opener for Lady Gaga and with sets at Coachella and Lollapalooza, Madeon launched two tours in support of Adventure: Adventure Live and the Pixel Empire Tour.

To support the release of “Shelter” Porter and Madeon kick off a joint tour this Fall (dates below / more TBA) that will see the two share the stage for a collaborative live performance that combines the best of their individual catalogs into one interactive performance fusing emotion, live instrumentation, visual artistry and cutting edge technology. Fans will get to hear old favorites, newly re-worked cuts from Worlds and Adventure, a few surprises, and of course an emotional and affirming live delivery of “Shelter.”

The single and the forthcoming joint North American tour captures both artists as they enter a new phase of their respective careers.

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PORTER ROBINSON & MADEON “SHELTER” TOUR
Tickets HERE + More Dates TBA

9/29: Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
10/1: Oklahoma City, OK @ The Critereon
10/2: Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
10/4: Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
10/5: Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom
10/6: Kansas City, MO @ Midland Theatre
10/7: Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
10/8: Houston, TX @ Revention Music Center
10/9: Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
11/13: Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
11/14:  Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
11/16: Washington, DC @ Echostage
11/25: San Francisco, CA @ Bill Graham Auditorium
11/26: Los Angeles, CA @ Microsoft Theater
11/29: San Diego, CA @ The Observatory North Park
12/1: Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
12/2: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex

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Music From Joan As Police Woman and Benjamin Lazar Davis

Celebrating a decade of continuous critical acclaim and international success, Joan As Police Woman returns, this time working alongside fellow Brooklynite, Benjamin Lazar Davis.
They will be releasing their album Let It Be You on Oct 21 via Reveal Records/BFD*/RED Distribution.
A deeply soulful artist, Joan As Police Woman (Joan Wasser) has famously worked with Antony (Anohni), Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed and David Sylvian. She recently performed at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Tribute to Lou Reed. Benjamin is a talented multi-instrumentalist who currently performs with Okkervil River, Cuddle Magic and Bridget Kearney (Lake Street Dive). Joan and Ben met each other after separate trips to Africa; Ethiopia for Joan as part of Damon Albarn’s Africa Express,  and West Africa for Lazar to study traditional music. They initially bonded over Central African Republic Pygmy musical patterns and wrote this album together loosely inspired by this music. The band recently performed at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival.
Previously going by the band name ‘2001’ the duo released a pair of partner videos featuring Fred Armisen (SNL, Portlandia); one for the song “Overloaded” with Ben on lead vocals and “Broke Me In Two” featuring Joan on lead. Both directed by Benjamin Gregory, the video for “Overloaded” features Joan and Ben as mechanics fixing Armisen’s car, while “Broke Me In Two” flips Armisen to the mechanic role with Joan and Ben cruising around town.

“Overloaded is one of the first songs we wrote together,” Joan explains. “From conception to final song, took only a couple of hours. In rehearsals we had been jamming on this riff together called “Hindewho” by Mbuti Peoples of Central African Republic (which is a duet using just a single note flute and voice). You can maybe hear that melody, it was certainly an influence for our song. Elsewhere on the “Let It Be You” record you might hear the influence of Ba Benzele Pygmies, especially on our loops and the complex rhythmic guitars. We tweak natural acoustic sounds and chop them up digitally and bit crush the electrics to make this new palette of sounds. As with “Broke Me In Two” we asked our comedian/musician friend Fred Armisen to appear in the music video, pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth is smart and funny but he plays it straighter here. We are looking forward to getting out and playing shows and for people to hear the record.”
 
The band will be touring Europe in November and December. Performing with a full band, Joan As Police Woman and Benjamin Lazar Davis will showcase songs from the new album and re-imagine landmark recordings from her four previous Joan As Police Woman albums (Real Life, To Survive, The Deep Field, The Classic). Click HERE for a full list of dates.

 

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Must Listen: Yellow Castle – “Restless Creature”

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Indie pop duo, Yellow Castle, formed by Peter Money (19) and Emily Matthews (21) from Perth, WA have released their catchy debut single “Restless Creature” into the wild world of music through The A&R Department. Money and Matthews have been in the Perth music scene for a few years recently branching off from Rich King Matthews to become a duo.

Fans of Rich King Matthews, 44th Sunset, Mumford and Sons, The Kooks, Dresses, Slow Club and The Avett Brothers will remember and enjoy Matthews’ sweet harmonies and jaunty piano riffs combined with Money’s upbeat acoustic guitar and warm vocals.

“Restless Creature” speaks of the calm at the end of an anxious spiral, where the “what ifs” and fears that keep you up at night, are dulled by the support of those you love, and who love you. The track was recorded and produced by Sam Wylde at Dalkeith Road School of Music, who says of the pair, “they deliver a really nice blend of catchy hooks, clever lyrics and smooth harmonies, a super exciting new band.”

Fueled by dreams, chamomile tea and backing of the ones who mean most, Yellow Castle’s future plans include an EP and global touring. They have already dipped their toes into the music scene with a handful of shows in their hometown and a taste of interstate touring at The Horse in Surry Hills. August will bring them a month’s residency at The Good Shepherd in Perth, a slot at the Monkey Bar in Mandurah and everything else that they can get their hands on.

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Must Listen: Tall Heights – “Infrared”

Photo credit: Samantha Casolari

Photo credit: Samantha Casolari

Right around a month ago, I posted a track from Tall Heights called “River Wider” (check it here), and now we’ve got another new track from them called “Infrared”. And again….I gotta say, this one is even better! They just keep getting better!

Interview Magazine premiered the track yesterday —- and you HAVE to go check it out. Their debut major label album, Neptune, will be out August 19th via Sony Music Masterworks.

Interview Magazine’s premiere of “Infrared” 

Also, here’s a video of “Spirit Cold” live, for your listening and viewing pleasure.

Tour Dates

8/20: Schwenksville, PA @ Philadelphia Folk Festival
8/27: Hunter, NY @ Doctorow Center for the Arts
9/14: Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
9/15: Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
9/17: Ashland, OR @ Brickroom
9/21: Los Angeles, CA @ Resident
9/29: Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
9/30: Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall
10/5: Washington, DC @ DC9
10/6: New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
10/15: Portsmouth, NH @ Word Barn
10/20: Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom & Tavern
10/21: Chicago, IL @ Schubas
10/22: Cedar Rapids, IA @ CSPS Hall
10/23: St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
10/27: Goshen, IN @ Ignition Garage
12/16: Boston, MA @ The Sinclair
12/18: Albany, NY @ The Egg

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Newest Love: Drop Out Vegas – “Sleep Alone”

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This track from Drop Out Vegas has been hiding in my messages for over a month. Today I finally got around to listening, and whoa! What a hidden gem!

Singer Skyler James explains, “‘Sleep Alone’ is a coming out story of bad relationship and hook up experiences, told in a way to bring a voice to the Tinder & Grindr generation, and to hope for a better day for those with low self confidence.”

It’s so catchy and I LOVE the video, too!!!

Check it out:

(That crescendo at 2:43 though!)

 

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