Category Archives: Check ’em Out!

Calypso’s Debut EP Is Here

calypso

Just recently we were treated to an impressive debut single from a newcomer out of Tasmania who goes by the name Calypso. The track was called “Numbered” and it was said to be just the first taste of her upcoming debut self-titled EP. Here’s the video in case you missed it:

The EP is a combination of old and new material. Calypso began writing some of the parts a few years back when she first began experimenting with electronic music. Over time these ideas grew and evolved as her influences changed and she discovered more about her own musical direction – she’s also been busy releasing music as one-half of SLOW. This year Calypso felt she was ready to make a decision on the final selection of songs, which she then sent through to a producer known as KOWL to help get them polished-up and ready to release.

“I suppose the main themes behind the EP would be growth and change…whether that’s within a relationship or within oneself. I think it’s a reflection on how life is constantly moving, and you have to adapt to your surroundings and learn how to survive through the changes.

The EP is also about the push & pull of love, how we can connect with other people and how we can move apart from one another as well. I hope the EP can take the listener on a bit of a journey, as they connect and relate to the words and the music through their own personal experiences” – Calypso

Calypso has indeed delivered an impressive debut collection of tracks, showcasing her strong indie-electronic/electro-pop sound as each track explores the intricacies of relationships; the happy beginnings, the excitement throughout, and sometimes the inevitable end.

Stream the EP here:

Favorite: “Field of Violets”

The EP is also available from iTunes and Spotify if that strikes your fancy.

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Newest Love: Litche – “Look Up”

litche

“Look Up” is the stunning debut single from an Australian newcomer who goes by the name Litche, giving us a nice little introduction to his chilled atmospheric electronica.

Litche is the solo project of Sam Litchfield, a producer out of Newcastle (Australia) who some may also know for his role as one-half of Aussie/Hawaiian duo Haliia. Over the last few months Sam has been busy working on a number of new productions that aren’t quite right for the Haliia sound & style.

The initial idea for “Look Up” came about while Sam was jamming with his Swiss friend Elias back in 2015, who he was introduced to by a mutual friend on a surf trip to Bali last year.

“After discovering we both had a mutual passion for making music, we decided we’d get together and have a go at make something. Not much came out of it at that time except a simple 4-bar loop and a few vocal samples, but then back in April this year I became inspired by an Ethnic sample pack I’d found and started working this with the beats and vocals Elias and I had recorded all those months ago, and it all seemed to work so well” – Litche

Inspired by some of his favorite instrumental artists for their use of organic soundscapes mixed with deep electronic production (like Seekae & Shlohmo), Sam continued working this rediscovered idea with a variety of foreign samples & sounds, as he strived to create a song that could transport its listener to somewhere else, a place where they can reflect on the different cultures we have around the world, and show just how music can bridge the gap between them.

Haunting vocal arrangements drift throughout a chilled atmospheric landscape of smooth tribal percussion, dark echoing synths and pulsing electronic beats.

Available for free download (but not for long — so do it now!):

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Newest Love: Beware of Darkness

Photo: Cara Robbins

Photo: Cara Robbins

“Imagine the crunch of The White Stripes and the sheer raunch of Prince and you’d be somewhere close to Beware Of Darkness.” – CLASH Mag

LA-based Beware of Darkness reveal album release details today for their forthcoming LP Are You Real? out on September 16th via Bright Antenna Records.  Fans who pre-order album will receive singles “Dope” and “Muthafucka” instantly.

Are You Real? is the band’s biggest and boldest statement yet.  The 12-track collection serves as an urgent call to arms not only for frontman Kyle Nicolaides, but for the band’s sound as well.  The music ushers the rebirth of a sound that is as refreshing as it is addictive, and goes much deeper than riffs.

The album illustrates how a rock star on the rise fought uncertainty and disillusionment to avoid flaming out. And, more importantly, how he has come through the other side revitalized and focused, and with the best songs of his young career.


ayr

Are You Real? Tracklist
Muthafucka
Blood, Sex, Violence, & Murder
Dope
Summer Daze
Tell Me This Is Fate
Are You Real?
Angel
Surrender
Hieroglyphics
Sugar In The Raw
Beware
Delirium

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Newest Love: Stone Cold Fox

scf

 
“The five-track effort is likened to a roadtrip, “a collection of journeys” in which Stone Cold Fox venture out to discover who they really are when all the layers are peeled back and they’re forced to look in the mirror.”
– Consequence of Sound

“…delivering dancey and joyful synthesizer beats, overlaid with groovey guitar leads. The band has an innate knack for finding the sweet spot of catchy music that isn’t shallow, leading you to want to teleport from your shitty apartment to an island paradise. “
– NOISEY

“…while it retains energy, [Firing Squad] opts for something far more ethereal. The track basks in a haze of guitar effects and subtle performances, proving that Stone Cold Fox can sound subdued without feeling lethargic…”
– The AV CLUB 

“Amongst the slew of synth pop revivalists, Brooklyn-based four piece Stone Cold Fox are doing things a little differently. By staring their song producing process with an indie-rock core, they craft songs that are essentially guitar led, before channeling that heart into an addictive electronic, synth-heavy format.
– Wonderland Magazine
The best kind of road trips are the ones that are spontaneous. You know where you want to go, you have a final destination in mind – you just don’t necessarily know how you’re going to get there. But that’s ok, because it’s all about the journey, right? Brooklyn-based four piece, Stone Cold Fox want to take a road trip with you- they’ll get you to where you want to go, you just gotta let them take the wheel, because in the end whatever will be, will be. And the soundtrack? Their EP, Tunnel Vision.

Tunnel Vision is a stunning contradiction- a collection of journeys made up of distorted dance synths that bleed with a rock-heavy heart. Written, recorded and produced over a period of two years, the sound of Tunnel Vision resembles a mindset that is anything but narrow minded- instead, it’s a collection of tracks that skew in every which way, that ultimately steer back to it’s original course to create a wistful, cohesive sound. “Tracks started as total rock songs, then turned into chilled electro songs, eventually finding its way somewhere comfortably in the middle,” explains guitarist and vocalist Kevin. “They find middle ground with a rock core and a dancey pulse,” he adds. So, imagine a world where John Lennon is rose from the dead and conceived a love child with The Strokes while listening to LCD Soundsystem and Beat Connection – that’s the kind of world that Tunnel Vision creates.

If you’re digging that sound — check out the EP here and now:

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Listen: Ghost Hours – “For You”

ghosthours

“‘For You’ is a hazy, laid back California summer kind of song. Definitely inspired by the ocean and California sunsets.” — Ghost Hours

Ghost Hours, the moniker of Southern California’s Ron Fountenberry, is an electronic solo project aimed at creating beat driven melodies with a midnight vibe.

Fountenberry is an accomplished composer who has written music for Apple, Ford, Google – as well as projects for television and film.

Ghost Hours is his musical respite; where he can explore electronic, R+B, indie, and pop terrain freely as his imagination takes him.

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Newest Love: Ancient Cities – “Marmalade”

ancient cities

Following their well-received self-titled debut album in 2014, Ancient Cities returns to bring us Supermoon Blackout, out 7/1 and available to pre-order now. After being invited to play Newport Folk Festival in 2015 by Converse, the band began recording at Converse Rubber Tracks Studio in Boston and Sioux Sioux Studio before taking the record to frontman Stephen Warwick’s home studio to wrap up. What emerged is both raw and organic in the ways you’d expect and enjoy from and fuzzed out rock album like this.

They’ve expanded on a sound that is lively, warm, angsty, and ferocious, and the new addition of organ/synth sounds have only added to the party. Supermoon Blackout will have you swooning, dancing silly, jumping around wildly, or nodding your head and tapping your steering wheel from one song to another. The band is putting one foot in front of the other along the road of psychedelic folk rock laid before them. Each stone placed with road-tested material has landed them features in Vanity Fair, The Village Voice, as well as live video sessions with Paste Magazine and Live & Breathing. Creatively and otherwise, Ancient Cities is following this road to success- polishing their evolving tastes but not straying far from their fuzz rock n’ roll, psyched out pop roots.

Songs like “Sunburn” take you back to the swooning melodies and harmonies of 60’s rock ‘n’ roll, while “Actress” is an instant party starter.  “Midnight” gives you a sense that you’re coming back to life- or realizing that somewhere along the road you lost yourself and just noticed you’re back. “Marmalade” captures the essence of the album musically as an ode to getting lost in rock n roll textures, swooning vocals, and a fuzzed out guitar solo.

Warwick gained acclaim in 2010 with his solo album Talking Machine, receiving local notice as best song-writer and landing on Shuffle Magazine’s top 10 list for albums of that year. Ancient Cities became his new musical outlet that gave him freedoms to break out from lofi alt-folk and pick up an electric guitar with no reservations or apologies. This shift in perspective brought about some foot-stomping rock n’ roll that comes from a thoughtful desire to move you. Supermoon Blackout is the kind of music that beckons you put down your cell phone to just dance, listen, or watch.

Supermoon Blackout
Track List:
1. Marmalade
2. Phases
3. Sunburn
4. Luck
5. Time Traveler
6. Supermoon Blackout
7. All Rise
8. Actress
9. Midnight
10. Sorceress
11. Losing My Mind

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Must Watch! 360° Video from The Zolas for “Swooner”

Photo credit: Steve Bays

Photo credit: Steve Bays

“The four piece pop band from Vancouver are upbeat and undoubtedly having lighthearted fun with their music, and the song is layered in sugary harmonic vocals and melodies for you and your friends to get dark (or drunk) to.” VICE’s Noisey

“a danceable exploration into experimental indie pop” Culture Collide

Vancouver indie-pop darlings The Zolas have released a cutting-edge video for their fuzzed-out, guitar-driven pop anthem “Swooner”, which just reached #2 on the Canadian Alternative Chart this year. The interactive live video was shot on four GoPro cameras mounted in a special 360° tripod that allows the viewer to pan around the room and explore different viewpoints. Make sure to watch on Chrome or Firefox!

The Zolas’ Swooner LP, released this year via Light Organ Records, dives headlong into vibrant, experimental pop, showcased by stirring modern production, highlighted by flashes of grungy hard-panned guitars, Prince-like synth flourishes, eurodance vocals and electric pianos. The band is heading out on a North American tour in June, including a stop at NXNE Festival and Pemberton Music Festival.

Tour Dates:

6/13: San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
6/14: Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
6/15: Santa Barbara, CA @ Velvet Jones
6/16: San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
6/18: Toronto, ON, Canada @ NXNE Festival
6/20: Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge
6/21: Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
6/22: Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett
7/14-17: Pemberton, BC, Canada @ Pemberton Music Festival

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Listen: The Dan Ryan

the dan ryan

“[A] delightful slice of psych rock, with the seven songs encompassing the album twisting and turning in an exciting new direction.” – PureVolume

“[A]pproaches psychedelic rock from oblique angles, the better to cut through the subgenre’s traditional haze and fuzz, on a solid debut long-player.” – Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

“[I]t’s a re-imagining of folk music, a la Devendra Banhart, though imagine that being recorded inside a bubble or beneath water” – Austin Town Hall

“[F]eels like a downstream float through a rainbow river.” – FLOOD Magazine

“[Y]ou could zone out to on a transcendental quest to all night long” – Impose

“[T]he perfect dose of laid back psych infused folk rock.” – The Revue

Today, The Dan Ryan’s swirling psychedelic self-titled debut is streaming in full via PureVolume. The Austin-based project of Nathan Dixey is also the first official release of Venice, CA label Cosmic Dreamer Music. The seven diverse tracks flow seamlessly to create a dreamy, kaleidoscopic sonic landscape. You can now stream the album in its entirety via PureVolume and Cosmic Dreamer.

If the Grateful Dead of 1977 started collaborating with the Grateful Dead of 1966 under George Harrison’s supervision in 2014, the result would sound similar to The Dan Ryan. Sonically, the LP is unique, blending pop sensibilities and electronic textures with tender vocals. Experimental and deeply personal, the songs bear a chapter of change with deep lyrical content, yet the music never becomes too dark or overbearing.

The Dan Ryan LP is also the first release from new record label Cosmic Dreamer Music, based in Venice, CA. Cosmic Dreamer is a platform for artistic expression. Founded by visual artists who play music, the label believes in the power of connecting with others through sight, sound, and experience. Future releases include those from Onsen and Allelujah.

Formed in 2011 as a side project of Hospital Ships’ Nathan Dixey in Lawrence, KS, The Dan Ryan is now based in Austin, TX, where the debut LP was home-recorded between December 2013 to July 2014. Psychedelic and deeply personal, these songs bear a chapter of change and evoke the fleeting nature of one’s perspective on life.

The Dan Ryan stretches eleven miles through the south side of Chicago. A clogged artery, the expressway slowly churns its commuters from the city’s heart to the ghettos, outskirts, and suburbs out beyond Northwest Indiana.  Trains shuffle through its enormous median to 95thStreet.  Great iron edifices deliver passengers east and westbound, roaring seventy feet above the freeway’s concrete floor. Tucked in the city’s southwest corner lays a patch of forest bearing the same name.  Carved by glaciers, The Dan Ryan Woods boast Chicago’s highest vantage point.  Climb its light towers to admire her big, broad, shimmering shoulders.  Linger under its giant maples to escape the whirr of the city streets. The Dan Ryan represents the imminent collision between tranquility and transition; an acknowledgement that regardless of ones stature, seat, or disposition, you’re still along for the ride.

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Check ‘Em Out: Silent Pictures

silentpictures1

California psych-gaze group Silent Pictures are announcing their sophomore LP, Let it Begin, via BrooklynVegan with single “Behind the Scenes,” mixed by Ricky Maymi of Brian Jonestown Massacre. A mix of beachy reverb-jangle and swirling strings, the track calls to mind bands as diverse as Allah-Las to the Jesus and Mary Chain.

“Behind the Scenes” serves as a taste of what’s to come, yet the full album drifts from ethereal glam rock to noisy psychedelic shoegaze to pure Britpop, an indication of the wide-ranging experience of the musicians that make up Silent Pictures. The skill level allows for the record to float between genres seamlessly, unable to stick to one certain genre, or even stay under the “psych” umbrella. Certainly Brian Jonestown Massacre comes to mind, as member Ricky Maymi had a hand in production, yet it’s easy to compare tracks like “Twisted Smile” to Britpop trailblazers like the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Stone Roses. Not to be nailed down to one era either, Silent Pictures could be perfectly in line on a bill with more modern bands like Allah Lahs or Kevin Morby.

Every instrument and microphone went live to the board and was mastered in analog with knobs and dials and not a bunch of digital emulations and approximations of what live music should sound like. There is no use of digital vocal pitch corrected by auto tune. What you hear is what you get.

Let it Begin will be released on vinyl and all DSPs on July 15 via Green Fuse Records. The band will be playing three different California based festivals and will be announcing more live dates throughout the summer. For now, you can stream “Behind the Scenes” via BrooklynVegan.

silentpictures

Listen to “Behind the Scenes”

Festival Appearances
SubZero Festival – San Jose, CA – June 4
Desert Stars Festival – Joshua Tree, CA —  Sept. 23-24

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Must Listen: Coleman Hell – “Fireproof”

Photo: Tim Saccenti

Photo: Tim Saccenti

Following the release of his acclaimed single “2 Heads” and self-titled EP which garnered over 100 million streams across platforms, Coleman Hell returns with new single Fireproof. Released on all digital platforms, the track was produced alongside electronic artist La+ch and will appear on his forthcoming debut album via Columbia Records.  Revered for his genre-defying fearlessness, the singer/songwriter/producer has developed a unique style, fusing organic instrumentation with lush electronic textures.

When asked about the inspiration behind the new single, Coleman says, “I was looking through family photos and I came across this image of my parents that immediately resonated with me. That one photo perfectly encapsulates the idea behind “Fireproof.” My parents have been together since high school and have such an old-fashioned relationship. No matter what obstacles came their way, they worked through it because they have this unwavering belief in love, and almost childlike faith in each other which is so beautiful to me. I think growing up around them is what’s made me such a hopeless romantic. I got to witness it first hand so I know it exists. If you love someone enough it really can make you fireproof.”

Anchored by his inspiring and unorthodox approach, the Thunder Bay (Canada) native has forged a prolific reputation as an adventurous outlier with a diverse palate. 2015’s “2 Heads” became a mainstay of multiple streaming and radio platforms, soaring to the Top 5 at US Alternative radio. With an upcoming Columbia Records debut album near completion, new single“Fireproof” signals big things ahead for this burgeoning artist in 2016.

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