Monthly Archives: July 2014

Syren City To Release New EP, Escape

Syren City wear their hearts on their sleeves and channel engaging slamming guitar thrusts with snarly melodic blasts to stunning effect. The Bristol based quintet’s sound neatly amalgamates genres and by doing so it’s innovative, progressive and fresh.

Syren City

Syren City

Ever since their formation in 2011, Syren City have attacked the UK with true vigor. The angular rock crew regularly hit the nation’s highways and byways playing numerous venues throughout Wales and England. Along the way, the five-some have supported Turbowolf, The Alarm, Max Raptor, Futures, Young Legionnaire, Attack Attack, Blitz Kids, The People The Poet and Gavin Butler/The Blackout as well as playing at festivals alongside Brand New, Don Broco, We Are the Ocean, We Are the In Crowd, Mallory Knox, Canterbury, Kids in Glass Houses and Feed The Rhino, to name a few.

Now with a loyal army of fans in tow, the alt-rockers are intent in sowing their seeds even further afield. With a new record in place in the shape of their spanking EP Escape, the band are destined to propel themselves to the upper echelons of the UK scene. Escape spews out acute oft-kilter phrasing, engrossing guitar parts and hammering rhythm work, all cleverly woven together with anthemic hooks. From the pounding high tempo groove and compelling vocal lines of Bleed to the razor sharp riffage and infectious guile of Our Disease and the angular Fire In Your Name, which will contort, twist and wrap itself around your ears, the five piece ensure that this record grabs you by the balls. Long Way Down further showcases the band’s depth as dual vocal parts are pitched against spiky riffery and elephantine breakdowns. By the time Asphodel passes through your pores, you’ll have their final refrain in your head for an eternity; just listen and see. The sassy post-hardcore outfit aim to ensure that the record will be everywhere so expect widespread UK shows throughout the year and just watch them ascend.

Escape will be released on September 15.

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Sean Rowe To Release New Album, Madman, In September

Acclaimed singer and songwriter Sean Rowe will release his new album Madman on September 9. NPR Music is currently premiering the video for the record’s title track.

On his new record, Rowe, who The Wall Street Journal wrote “…recalls the ecstatic intensity of late-’60s Van Morrison and stark subtlety of late-era Johnny Cash” has created a beautifully primal work. Madman is deliberately, if not defiantly, simple in both arrangement and composition. It is soul music in the purest and most literal sense, hypnotic rhythms, warmly distorted guitars and Rowe’s incredible voice recalling a time, real or imagined, when music and people seemed distinctly more connected.

Rowe has spent much of the last year traveling the country with his guitar, performing in people’s living rooms for a series of house concerts. In a deliberate contradiction to the prevailing expectations of a professional musician, Rowe chose to interact with fans in the most intensely personal manner. This simplification or stripping away of excess is powerfully conveyed in the video for Madman. We see the musician performing in a series of unconventional venues as well as shots of Rowe in nature juxtaposed with images of him in crowded city streets, literally and figuratively walking against the crowd and blazing his own trail.

The sound of Madman is influenced, in large part, by the hypnotic driving guitars of Delta blues. “I was listening to records by R.L. Burnside and John Lee Hooker and others which are basically just guitar and drums and really raw sounding,” Rowe explains. “I was also listening to the early soul records like Otis Redding and Ray Charles. I didn’t want to try and duplicate those sounds, just take aspects of them and make them my own.”

The title track features a rhythmic guitar, lilting piano and melodic bass, punctuated by horns, all of it in the service of Rowe’s incredibly soulful voice. “My singing is definitely more playful on this record,” he says. The record was produced by Sean himself and engineer, Troy Pohl. Rowe says he wanted to strip away much of the production and focus instead on the voice and guitar style he had perfected in theaters, nightclubs and living rooms. “I came to this realisation that the songs don’t have to be structurally heavy to be intense,” he explains. “It’s more about the honesty and emotion behind the delivery. A lot of these songs are pretty simple but I was really thoughtful about that, it was intentional. I wanted to go right to the heart.”

Madman is a record of extraordinary honesty intent on establishing a connection. In its deliberate simplicity there is pure sonic emotion. “I wanted to go right to the heart with this,” he explains. “And sometimes that meant seeing how much we could remove. It helps to have a great recording. But I would rather have great performances and that’s what I was after here. Sometimes when you’re listening to a piece of music you don’t have to think about it, you just feel it. It’s primal and you trust it.”

You can catch Sean Rowe live on the following dates:
Sept 14: Pittsburgh, PA at Club Cafe
Sept 17: Louisville, KY at WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays
Sept 18: Nashville, TN at Third Man Records
Sept 23: Vienna, VA at Jammin Java
Sept 24: Philadelphia at World Cafe Live
Sept 25: NYC at Rockwood: Stage 2
Sept 26: NYC at Rockwood: Stage 3
Oct 1: Northampton, MA at Parlor Room
Oct 2: Providence, RI at Columbus Theatre
Oct 3: Troy, NY: Contemporary Arts Center at Woodside
Oct 4: Woodstock, NY at Colony Cafe

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Introducing…The Hostiles

The Hostiles capture the upbeat energy of US west coast ska punk in the scarcely-sunny climes of west coast Scotland. Their take is spirited and infectious, combining distorted guitars riffs, low-slung rhythms, in-your-face vocals and a two-pronged brass backbone of trumpet and trombone. It’s an engaging formula that’s cultivated a sturdy following and national recognition as well as amassing a strong reputation on the live circuit for delivering a set that is laced with high octane energy.

Born in Ayr back in 2001, The Hostiles started with brothers Josh (guitar) and Chris (bass), who grew up in the States listening to the likes of Reel Big Fish, NOFX and No Doubt. After moving to Scotland in their teens, they were introduced to heavier skacore acts like Capdown, Lightyear and King Prawn by local like-minded ska-lovers including Callum Douglas (drums) and Steve Bruce (trombone). (The current line-up was later completed by Ruaridh Crumlish on trumpet). From these foundations, The Hostiles’ sound was formed – a sound they continue to hone with each record release and every ear-ringing, sweat-drenched live performance.

The band’s recording output has always been prolific and after a string of early EPs, The Hostiles released their debut full-length album, Always Looking Forward, in April 2009 with Matt Harvey, produced by Tim G (Sonic Boom Six, Random Hand) and mastered by Peter Miles (The King Blues, Failsafe). The album marked a significant step forward for the band with a release night show in Glasgow supporting Catch 22, followed by an 18 date tour. The tour was a rampant success and it helped Always Looking Forward find a home with Cardiff-based label, Go Steady Records. Warmly received by the underground ska scene, Always Looking Forward established The Hostiles as one of Scotland’s most respected ska bands. Their rise in profile continued and in 2010, The Hostiles’ tracks were featured on several compilations in Japan, USA, UK and Italy, helping them boost their international presence. The following year, the band’s frequent flyer miles soared with a four week European tour which including shows across the continent, and in August 2012, amidst preparations for their second full-length album, the Late Nights and Early Hours EP emerged. Demonstrating a harder-edged sound, it captures the band at their most confident, ready to take on, with a grin, whatever is thrown their way.

During the past eighteen months, the ska punkers have vigorously toured throughout the UK, playing with Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Spunge, Mad Caddies, Zebrahead, Sonic Boom Six, The King Blues, Random Hand, Leftover Crack, The Toasters, The Damned, Strike Anywhere, Streetlight Manifesto and Capdown, to name a few. The Hostiles also hit the studio to continue work on their new album as well as laying down their brand new single For A Good Time Call 07946058526. The video for For A Good Time features Scottish model Amanda Hendrick.

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Angus & Julia Stone Release Latest Track, Grizzly Bear, From New Album

Grizzly Bear is Angus and Julia’s latest track to be unveiled from their forthcoming and highly anticipated Rick Rubin produced album, Angus & Julia Stone out August 1 (American Recordings/Republic Records).

The melodious and up-tempo, Fleetwood Mac-esque track was written and recorded in California and was brought to life thanks to Rubin’s ears and direction in the studio. As described by Rubin himself, it is the Sydney-born, Californian based siblings own “poetic depth” that carries and makes this album and track so very special.

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Simian Ghost Announce Reissue Of 2012’s, Youth

Youth (Reissue) is a new version of Swedish indie pop band Simian Ghost’s 2012 widely acclaimed album, now with five additional bonus tracks.

Simian Ghost

Simian Ghost

Formed in 2011 by musician and visual artist Sebastian Arnstrom, the band’s debut album Infinite Traffic Everywhere topped the Critics Chart in Sweden. Now expanded to a five piece including brother Erik Klinga on drums, Mathias Zachrisson on guitar, Maja Agnevik on additional vocals as well as Wilhelm Magnusson on bass, the band has shared stages with Mount Kimbie, SBTRKT, Tony Buck and Niki & the Dove among many others.

The five new tracks on Youth, reissued by Austin’s Red Eye Transit, offer up more of the band’s signature sweet pop sound. Recently the previously unreleased track 2012 was premiered at Clash Magazine. From the honeyed harmonies of 2012 to the joyful breeziness of Echoes in Your Heart, the new Youth tracks exhibit the musical qualities that have earned them the title of “…one of Sweden’s most interesting pop acts to come out this year” (Noisey).

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Weezer Announce New Album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End

Los Angeles, CA’s Weezer will release their highly anticipated ninth album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End, on September 30 2014 on Republic Records. Produced by Ric Ocasek, who previously helmed production on the band’s first and third records (The Blue Album and The Green Album), Everything Will Be Alright In The End is the band’s first collection of new material in four years.

Weezer new album

Weezer’s album artwork

Since forming in 1992, Weezer has released a myriad of celebrated, chart-topping albums, selling over 13 million records worldwide. Following an intensely prolific couple years at the end of the aughts, the band chose to deliberately dial down the tempo in 2010, a move singer/guitarist Rivers Cuomo says allowed him to write at a slower pace, giving the songs he wanted to use for an album the time to gradually grow into their final forms. He started almost every song on the piano, eventually transferring them to the guitar before taking them to the band. When it came time to record the material, Weezer reunited with the man who helped them make some of their most iconic album-length work, Cars frontman Ric Ocasek. The resulting album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End, is a stand-out gem in Weezer’s vast and varied catalogue, a reflection of a much-loved band at their very best. Organised thematically around three groups of songs, it is an album that utilises that sound from the band’s earliest days to tell new stories in 2014, creating some of the finest, most heartfelt songs Weezer has ever recorded.

Weezer have revealed the first track from the record, Back To The Shack, which can be heard here.

You can catch Weezer live on the following dates: 7/24/14 London, ON @ Rock The Park 2014
Aug 1  Las Vegas, CA @ The Cosmopolitan
Aug 2  Del Mar, CA @ Del Mar Thoroughbred Club Summer Concert Series
Aug 9 Bethlehem, PA @ Musikfest PNC Plaza
Aug 13 Southaven, MS @ Snowden Grove Amphitheater
Aug 14 Lake Charles, LA @ L’Auberge Casino Resort
Aug 31 Los Angeles, CA @ Made In America
Sept  6 Charlotte, NC @ 106.5 The End presents Weenie Roast ‘14
Sept 12 Paso Robles, CA @ Vino Robles Amphitheatre
Sept 13 Sacramento, CA @ Aftershock Festival
Sept 14 Chicago, IL @ Riot Fest
Sept 19 Denver, CO @ Riot Fest

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Introducing…Nikki W.

The MuseBox recently announced the release of Transparent Hands, the first single from Nikki W., the 16 year-old singer/songwriter from London, Ontario. Her full length EP entitled Sad Generation will be released on July 29. Nikki’s style is a vibrant mix of guitars, piano and haunting synths, all layered over a restless and hard-hitting rhythm section held together by Nikki’s enchanting voice. Already compared to Lana Del Ray and Metric, Nikki projects an emotional honesty and wisdom beyond her years. According to Sam Tweedle of The Pop Culture Addict: “Nikki’s voice and writing skills are astonishing for a girl her age.” Nikki’s forthcoming release was produced by Gavin Brown and will be available on Nikki’s official website.

Like every preceding generation, Nikki’s is filled with distinct loneliness and fear. According to Nikki, she is ready, willing and able to speak on behalf of “gypsies, wallflowers and those without a voice.” Her powerful yet vulnerable voice touches on love, doubt, sex, self-harm and alienation – all themes common to Nikki and her peers. Nikki describes her music as “pop music with cuts, tattoos and honesty.”

With straightforward yet poignant lyrics like, “Don’t know who to trust and who to doubt” and “Someone like you is much too wonderful, lovely for someone as sad as me,” Nikki has already garnered attention for her songwriting prowess. The songs took shape as she co-wrote her EP with producer Brown.

Although working with someone with Brown’s credentials was at first intimidating, Nikki credits him with allowing her to grow through the songwriting and recording process. “I’ve been in and out of studios since I was 12. It’s kind of like a second home to me. I love going in and writing songs there, or just recording a track.”

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