Category Archives: Check ’em Out!

New EP from Metacara Released Today

Kyla Rae and Vince Nania are Pittsburgh based duo Metacara and today they’ve released their 2nd EP, Car Talks. I can’t really nail down a genre for them because they incorporate many. But, if you’re a fan of Phantogram, Purity Ring, and Wolf Alice (I’m thinking the Blush EP), you will definitely enjoy Metacara. In comparison to their first release in 2015, Stone Love, they feel like Car Talks is more mature. The name of the band itself means, “Many Faces,” which is super cool and appropriate for a group that feels their music is growing as they grow themselves.

When I hung out with Kyla and Vince recently, they told me this EP was inspired by the kinds of talks that you have in the car. You know, like when you’re going on a road trip — you’re in the car for a long period of time, why not talk about something deep that’s been on your mind? And bonus: your travel mate can’t escape you, mwaahahaha.

Check out the video for one of the new tracks, “Pilsen” below:

After you’ve watched that, check out the rest of the EP below via Soundcloud:

When you listen to the title track, make sure you pay attention at the 1:48 mark where the song changes it up a little bit. I love when one song almost sounds like two different songs AND IT WORKS. That’s what happens here. Magical.

“Over the Edge” has a little bit of a darker feel, which I especially appreciate at this time of year. The air is crisp and fall has arrived, Halloween is coming, and I usually feel a teeny bit bitter that the bitter, cold weather is approaching. Sometimes that’s what puts me “over the edge,” not sure about you. Juuuuuuust kidding. Sort of. Anyway, all of the tracks flow very nicely with each other and the EP ends with “Ceilings.” At 1:38, this song brings another beat that I’ve fallen in love with. The sound is blues-y and adds another level of anticipation followed by a rock vibe that carries out the rest of the song. After checking out Car Talks, you’ll see what I mean about nailing down a genre. Maybe I’ll make one up just for them.

The Car Talks EP is available on all major music platforms, so go grab it on whichever one strikes your fancy!

AND if you’re in the Pittsburgh area this Saturday, go check them out for their release party at James Street Gastropub!

 

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Newest Love: Motherfolk

Cincinnati’s alt-folk favorites Motherfolk have just announced that they will be re-releasing their sophomore album Fold, clocking in with four new tracks, unreleased videos, and behind-the-scenes photos. Describing their sound as “indie rock with a twinge of modern folk”, Fold ranges from introspective jaunts to anthemic rock’n’roll. With tireless touring and energetic live shows that draw in the audience, Motherfolk has established themselves as one of the Midwest’s most exciting upcoming acts. Today, the band is also debuting the visuals for “Ryder Robinson”. The deluxe edition of Fold will be available October 13, right before a string of tour dates with Sherwood (info below).

Preorder Fold (Deluxe Edition) via Pledge Music

In a contemporary independent music scene inundated with up and coming bands, it takes a unique outfit to break through that noise. A truly exceptional group must exhibit authenticity, raw talent, and electrifying chemistry. This, of course, means there are very few of them. Motherfolk, formed in 2013, is certainly one of those most unique and dynamic acts.

Motherfolk began as a collaborative effort between Nathan Dickerson and Bobby Paver, two college friends with a penchant for writing songs with one another. In the first year of the project, the two songwriters made frequent trips to Nashville to record their first endeavor. In 2014, their eponymous debut album showcased the duo’s musical prowess through a genre-bending collection of elegantly crafted songs.

Since then, Joel Call, Ethan Wescott, Karlie Dickerson, and Clayton Allender have joined Motherfolk’s ranks, and the band has made a name for themselves touring all across the nation. The outfit’s high-energy live performances have won over audiences from coast to coast, and their infectious musical persona has become one of the most exciting rising success stories in the indie scene.

In 2016, Motherfolk released their highly anticipated sophomore effort, Fold. Clocking in with eleven compelling tracks, the album further defines the band as an act that effortlessly melds a slew of influences together to manifest their sound into a splendidly cohesive, original pursuit. From surreal, introspective jaunts to foot-stomping, anthemic rock and roll, Fold stands tall as one of the most exciting records of 2016.

Building on the strength of the original release, Motherfolk will release a deluxe edition of Fold this October. With five unreleased tracks, three new music videos, and exclusive behind-the-scenes photos, fans can get a satisfying deeper look into the compelling story of Fold. The band will continue their extensive touring throughout the remainder of 2017, building momentum for what’s to come, and they’re inviting all of their fans, old and new, along for the ride.

Tracklist:

  1. Fold I
  2. Stone Against Stone
  3. Control
  4. Interlude
  5. Wreck of a Man
  6. Something Good
  7. Fold II
  8. Give My Heart Away
  9. Ryder Robinson
  10. The Only Fire
  11. Fold III
  12. You (Bonus Track)
  13. All That’s Left (Bonus Track)
  14. Wreck of a Man (Alternate Version)
  15. Control (Alternate Version)

Catch Motherfolk Live:

9/16 – Oaktoberfest – Oak Park, IL
10/12 – The Hall @ Stonehill College – North Easton, MA
10/18 – The End – Nashville, TN *
10/19 – Firebird – St. Louis, MO *
10/20 – 88th St. Collective – Oklahoma City, OK *
10/21 – Jackpot Music Hall – Lawrence, KS *
10/22 – Elbo Room – Chicago, IL *
10/23 – The Loving Touch – Detroit, MI *
10/24 – Musica – Akron, OH *
10/25 – Mad Frog – Cincinatti, OH *
*= with Sherwood

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Groove With This Supermoon

“Ikebe Shakedown re–creates the kind of vibrant vintage funk that sends crate–digging DJs into spasms of joy…” – TimeOut New York

“Ikebe Shakedown has a sound that is undeniably all their own” – KEXP, Seattle

Over the past ten years, Ikebe Shakedown has refined a sound that defies genre. Their tracks bring the primal elements of ’70s soul, raw funk, and cinematic Western soundtracks together with a relentless groove and soaring melodies. Each release has successively pushed their explosive instrumental style further, wowing audiences in the U.S. and around the world. Now, after considerable time building their own analog studio, Hive Mind Recording, hitting the road with some of the most revered acts in the Brooklyn soul scene, and soaking in the wisdom that comes from day-in, day-out living in NYC, Ikebe is back with their third LP, The Way Home, (Colemine Records), an album that takes these sensibilities to new heights.

While the band has always been known for danceable grooves, The Way Home delves deeper into what it means to move people. As they put it, “We live in a city with a relentless pace. Sometimes, that demands music that gets you up and shaking, but it’s just as much about getting ourselves up every day to take on this massive life in just a few square miles.” It’s that joyful struggle that keeps the record from being just another love letter to New York. Says the band, “We set out to tell NYC that our feelings are a little more, well, complicated.”

Perhaps that’s why each song tells its own story, from the get-off-your-ass snare hits of “Penny the Snitch” to “She’s Knocking,” with its quiet-morning start that transitions to a glorious call to arms. Or “Blue Giant,” which boxes like Ali, floating until it stings you with full-band jabs. And though there may be more subdued moments, no song ever goes completely still – because NYC never stops. As the band says, “We wanted some tracks to be for those predawn hours, when someone’s still out there, keeping the city humming.”

The album’s first 45, “Supermoon” b/w “The Ally,” is a powerful assertion of the band’s place amidst the top of the instrumental scene. With “Supermoon,” premiering on The Big Takeover, the band aimed to make “A tune that expresses all the energy and excitement we feel moving through the city. From the opening wash of reverb to the last pummeling drum hits, we gave it an air of mystery, since we live somewhere where anything’s possible at any time, day or night.” For “The Ally” on the B-Side, the band sees it as the perfect complement to “Supermoon” — “We want to take the listeners on a journey from a barebones opening to an ending that rouses them from the stupor we sometimes find ourselves in, so they feel like they can take on the world.”

If you think you know Ikebe Shakedown, check out The Way Home and prepare to be awakened. And if you’ve never listened, welcome to a sound that’s richly familiar but unlike anything you’ve heard before.

Tour Dates
Oct. 19th in Philadelphia, PA at World Cafe Live
Oct. 21st in Brooklyn, NY at Union Pool
Oct. 26th in  Kingston, NY at BSP Hall

The Way Home is out on October 20th, 2017

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Newest Love: Freedom Fry

“A jewel of sparkling synth and melodies” – VICE/Noisey
“Freedom Fry are on the path to stardom” – Indie Shuffle
“indie pop-folk tracks with upbeat melodies, danceable rhythms” – Flaunt Magazine

In anticipation of their upcoming Strange Attraction EP set for release on September 7th, Los Angeles based alt-folk duo Freedom Fry share new single “Party Down” with VICE’s Noisey. Highlighted by pulsating electronic beats and dreamy, melodic vocals of Marie Seyrat and Bruce Driscoll, the track stays true to the duo’s infectious feel-good sound.

“Party Down is a song about getting through the grind of your daily life and wanting to make the good times last longer – having the foresight when you’re in a good moment to realize that once it’s over you’re going to miss it,” Freedom Fry comments. “We were playing with synths as lead elements, which we haven’t done very much as a band. We wanted the beat to feel like a cross between Michael Jackson and the more danceable songs by The Clash. Once that was in place the rest of it just came together.”

“Party Down” follows the release of the first single and title track “Strange Attraction” released last month via BlackBook. Upon release of the EP, Freedom Fry will bring their kinetic live energy to Los Angeles on September 9th at Sunstock Solar Music Festival.

Freedom Fry has garnered over 50 million track streams and their music can be heard in over 50 films, shows, and commercials including Judd Apatow’s “Love” and Grey’s Anatomy. The band has appeared on The Hype Machine over 50 times, including three #1’s as they continue to turn heads on the international scale. They’ve performed in Europe and throughout the US with the likes of Stromae, Phantogram, X Ambassadors, and others.

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Check ‘Em Out: Ayo River

“…Weston calls back to the earlier days of indie rock, with sharp strings that cut through smokey vocals.”  – All Things Go

“…Taylor has found an engaging channel of expression with Ayo River, a musical outlet that has allowed him to find organic balance in the often overbearing push through modern existence.” – Under The Radar

Atlanta-based, indie pop project Ayo River announce their debut LP, Failed State, out now. Here, I’m sharing Ayo River’s second single and video, “Mercedes.” Lead single, “Porcelain,” premiered on Under The Radar, who described the track as “a lean and flowing example of Ayo River’s music, akin to early Death Cab for Cutie.” The album was recorded over a span of two years in Athens, Georgia, where songwriter Weston Taylor elicited the production and engineering skills of multi-instrumentalist Matt Martin (Faye Webster), who also performs drums and bass on many tracks. The album was produced at Chase Park Transduction Studios (Deerhunter, Bright Eyes, Queens Of The Stone Age, Animal Collective, REM). The LP was mastered by TW Walsh (Sufjan Stevens, The Shins, Cold War Kids, Death Cab For Cutie).

Ayo River, a moniker used by songwriter Weston Taylor, is a project that deeply intersects his personal narrative with the constant underlying relationships and connectedness of the modern world. Taylor’s artistic passions have been displayed through various mediums throughout his life, but his desire to tell stories remains a constant in all his art. As a teenager, Taylor’s was highly influenced by the hip hop scene of Atlanta. Once in college in Athens, Taylor dabbled in rapping, writing rhymes and lyrics to ripped off instrumentals from Youtube, sending lyrics off to Lil Wayne while he was locked up in Rikers. Soon realizing he was not the best rapper, Taylor took a step away from music and begun drafting short stories and novels, sending them off to publishing houses with hopes of being published. His extreme inclination to tell stories, express his thoughts lyrically and relate to others through writing was finally realized through his position at a children’s music school, where he found that pop music was the perfect medium for telling his own personal experiences and narratives.


Failed State is about a moment when something stops working and it becomes apparent that there must be change to move on. It’s about the feeling when the party of your youth is over, when the relationships you once held dear have disintegrated, but the Internet won’t let you look away. It’s about feeling like life is everyone vs. you. It’s a collection of songs containing poignant stories and experiences from his life – a car crash that awoke him from an existential coma, a breakup that made him sick in the street and his personal relationship with hip-hop in Atlanta.


Making frequent weekend trips to Athens, Martin and Taylor furiously recorded the album late into the night, angering many roommates and neighbors. Eventually, Taylor and Martin took the  record’s bare bones to the studio, where they recorded with Josh Crusa (bass) and Evan Seeds (drums), who had begun performing in Ayo River’s live band. Lead single, “Porcelain” was the first song recorded in the studio, and presents an ominous, stewing brew that transforms halfway through, almost like a spell, ending up brighter. Album track, “White Dress,” is Ayo River’s ode to Atlanta hip-hop, featuring producer Taylor Roarbaugh, who played a key role in finding the perfect sonic elements to incorporate with Ayo River’s dark lyrical themes.

 

FAILED STATE – TRACKLISTING

01. Porcelain
02. Jolts
03. Mercedes
04. White Dress
05. Porches + Patios
06. Waking Up
07. 11 Likes
08. Tantrum pt. i
09. Tantrum pt. ii
10. Snakes
11. Failed State

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Check ‘Em Out: LYOD

Check out this debut track from vibrant German producer LYOD, “Run Away”.

The emotional summer single is characterized by driving beats, mesmerizing melodies, and refined effects. Vibrant synths and a tropical drum wrap around Lucas’ soaring lyrics. Despite this comforting sonic escape, British vocalist Alex Lucas croons a repeating sharp line:

 

wasted on a generation fighting for peace, but I’m just now wise enough to see the truth

 

The inspiration for these lines came from reflecting on society. Lucas croons his way through bold statements on how to deal while LYOD layers his warm and playful instrumentals. “Run Away” creates a getaway all on its own.

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Remix: Izzy Bizu – “White Tiger” (Cat Carpenters Remix)

Izzy Bizu is a 22-year-old singer/songwriter from South West London, born to an Ethiopian Mother and English Father. She grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Swan, Betty Wright, and James Brown and draws on these influences alongside newer influences such as Amy Winehouse and Adele, to create a fusion of soul, funk, jazz, and pop that sounds classic and brand spanking new all at once.

Being 2016 Brits Critics Choice finalist, The BBC’s Introducing Artist of the Year 2016 and chosen as the voice of the 2016 Euros with her cover of Edith Piaf’s La Foule, she is quickly proving herself as one of the most exciting breakthrough British artists of the year. Garnering early support from 1Xtra and BBC Radio 1 on her independent six-tracker, Coolbeanz EP, before signing to Sony/RED MUSIC there’s been plenty a new fans in the front row thanks to instant classics like “White Tiger”, now with over 75 million global Spotify streams, the heart-wrenching “Mad Behaviour”, and viral Honne collaboration “Someone That Loves You”.

Drawing on her time moving countries, schools and the relationships that have entailed, Izzy is a cultural explorer, memories, experience and feelings evoking the songs we’re soon to hear and the thought-provoking conversation she already provides. Wearing her thoughts on her sleeve, you’ll be pushed to find many a debut this honest.

Her debut album, A Moment of Madness is out now (which you can stream via Spotify HERE); and the South London born singer/songwriter is debuting the Cat Carpenters remix of her hit “White Tiger,” which you can check out below along with tour dates alongside Coldplay!

UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
with Coldplay
8/12 Minneapolis MN – US Bank Stadium
8/14 Omaha NE – Centurylink Center
8/15 Kansas City MO – Spirit Center
8/17 Chicago IL – Soldier Field
8/19 Cleveland OH – Quicken Loans Arena
8/21 Toronto ON – Rogers Centre
8/22 Toronto ON – Rogers Centre
8/25 Houston TX – NRG Stadium
8/28 Miami FL – Hard Rock Stadium

 

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Why Sit Down When You Wanna Dance?

Check out this catchy little diddy from a group named thanks. The duo is Steve Pagano and Mario Borgatta and together they combine psychedelic pop, cinematic vibes and electronically influenced beats and melodies.

The duo emerged after meeting at Berklee College of Music in 2009. It was then that Pagano and Borgatta realized they shared the same sentiment for music and how aligned their goal really was. Together they have accomplished this goal in crafting a sound which is simultaneously unique and accessible to the masses. They set out with the intent to express their story through an artistic portrayal of music and lyrics and prevailed in culminating a winning formula which can resonate with their audiences.

Their highly anticipated debut album Colfax, named after the location of their recording studio and where the majority of the album was conceived, is the result of the pair uniting and a culmination of their mutual thoughts and beliefs. Colfax depicts the duo’s endeavor in stepping away from the grasp of musical elitism and producing material which is true to not only themselves but to the world around them. The importance of making a record which was relatable to different people was crucial. “Whatever the theme is, we do our best to keep it transparent so it can be interpreted in different ways”, admits Borgatta. thanks. pride themselves on being people who are in touch with the universe and the people who occupy it. This assimilation with the people can be felt in their music and there is no mistake, it’s genuine.

Lead single “Your World” consists of catchy psych-pop melodies, climactic choruses and upbeat funk rhythms, reminiscent of early MGMT. Enriched with an array of textures and vintage synths it is the ultimate summer anthem. Despite “Your World” having an optimistic, summery feel the song admittedly delivers a powerful message, with the lyrics being in reference to an idea of a present-day society where lives are governed by a political agenda we may or may not agree with. Borgatta reveals, “the idea was inspired by George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and though our lyrics aren’t meant to express any opinion towards a specific political idea or belief, we hope to motivate people to take action in what they believe in”.

“Annabelle” highlights the band’s diversity with a more 60’s psych influence, combining acid-folk and a hint of stoner power-pop. Borgatta admits how they were listening to The Beatles “Across The Universe” during their time spent in the studio and “Annabelle” is a clear indication of this inspiration.

Pagano and Borgatta have seen previous success with numerous TV placements on major networks including MTV, ABC and Netflix, as well as having engineered on records from world renown, critically acclaimed artists such as Muse, Death Cab For Cutie, Foster The People and many more.

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Video: Alice Merton – “No Roots”

Alice Merton signs with Mom + Pop Music! Her single “No Roots” has already captured an immense amount of attention with millions of global plays on Spotify and YouTube, and has been recently added to Alt/AAA U.S. radio. She has new adds this week including LA, Chicago, Austin, Dallas, SF, Minneapolis + NYC/Sirius Alt Nation. Look out for Alice later this year and early next as she plans to tour both Europe and the U.S..

“I’ve got no roots, but my home was never on the ground.”

One whole sentence seems to sum up the life of the English/Canadian singer and songwriter Alice Merton. Four countries and eleven moves later, she starts to take her first independent steps into the music industry. With success – “No Roots” reached top positions on iTunes, Spotify, Shazam and Hype Machine. In Germany, the song has already reached platinum status and was #1 in the official single charts.

Raised in Canada, finishing high school in Germany, then moving on to England with her family, Alice has gotten quite used to packing and unpacking boxes. With her debut single “No Roots”, she describes the life of having had many different homes but comes to the realization that her home was never in one place.

At the age of five she started taking classical piano lessons, four years later she was introduced to vocal training. After spending many years being classically trained, Alice discovered the art of songwriting through one of her high school courses in Germany. She then went on to study songwriting and pursue her dream of becoming a professional singer/songwriter.

During her studies, she started working with various producers. Finding the right producer is like finding a missing puzzle piece, you know it’s there somewhere, but it takes a really long time to find.” However, after being introduced to Nicolas Rebscher, a Berlin-based producer, she knew she had found her match.

Creating a very analog and organic pop sound, going back to the basics of drum and bass driven music, they combined their individual styles to develop a style of their own. Nicolas Rebscher’s arrangements were the perfect addition to Alice’s melodies, combining the depth and softness in her voice, with his energetic and charismatic sounds.

TOUR DATES:

08/04  Appletree Garden Festival – Diepholz, Germany

08/04  Parklichter Festival – Bad Oeynhausen, Germany

08/05  Food For Your Senses Festival – Kirchberg, Luxembourg

08/25  Gamescon – Cologne, Germany

08/26  Laternenfest – Halle, Germany

09/9  Rennbahn Berlin Hoppegarten – Berlin, Germany

09/10  Lollapalooza Berlin – Berlin, Germany

09/14  SWR3 New Pop Festival – Baden Baden, Germany

09/15  NDR 2 Soundcheck Festival – Göttingen, Germany

9/20-23  Reeperbahn Festival – Hamburg, Germany

11/17  New Fall Festival – Düsseldorf, Germany

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Can’t Get Enough FØNX

British artist, songwriter and producer FØNX has today released his debut single ‘Can’t Get Enough’, which was produced by Grammy award-winner Tommaso Colliva (Muse).

FØNX explains, “’Can’t Get Enough’ came about whilst I was homeless and sofa surfing for a couple of months and after a very colorful twenty-four hours, I found myself writing initial ideas for the song”.

Drawing influence from the likes of Kanye West, Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, D’Angelo, John Mayer and Tame Impala, FØNX delivers R’n’B-infused pop with jazz, funk and soul influences, merging catchy grooves, memorable hooks and intricate guitar licks with inspired lyrical content.

Coming from a musical background FØNX started learning guitar at the age of seven and was soon introduced to rap and hip hop, sparking his enthusiasm to start writing lyrics and create backing tracks from samples.

FØNX continued experimenting with music and film during a number of years of home-schooling and soon enrolled at the Brit School where he studied music.

Since leaving, FØNX has continued writing and producing his music at home, on trains, buses, in coffee shops and backstage before shows, constantly coming up with ideas for melodies and lyrics wherever he went. Playing the live circuit around London and the South East he has also performed at various festivals including Barn on The Farm, Cornbury Festival, Isle Of Wight Festival and Leefest.

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