American Singer/Songwriter from Monticello, Arkansas by way of Nashville, Tennessee, Ward Davis has had songs recorded by Trace Adkins, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Wade Hayes, Sammy Kershaw, Bucky Covington, Jimmie Van Zant, Buddy Jewel, Carolina Rain, The Roys, and more. Most recently, Ward Davis co-wrote “I’m Not The Devil” with Cody Jinks, with whom he subsequently toured with nationwide. With over 250 shows per year under his belt as both a headliner and support act, Ward Davis’ already popular live show is growing at exponential rates.
American Singer/Songwriter from Monticello, Arkansas by way of Nashville, Tennessee, Ward Davis has had songs recorded by Trace Adkins, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Wade Hayes, Sammy Kershaw, Bucky Covington, Jimmie Van Zant, Buddy Jewel, Carolina Rain, The Roys, and more. Most recently, Ward Davis co-wrote “I’m Not The Devil” with Cody Jinks, with whom he subsequently toured with nationwide. With over 250 shows per year under his belt as both a headliner and support act, Ward Davis’ already popular live show is growing at exponential rates.
At the age of nine, Clark played violin in an orchestra in St Albans – not that he was too keen at the time, he admits. Folk violin? Yes, he enjoyed that (although Clark’s teachers were somewhat scornful). But classical music? When there was Public Enemy, Prince or Metallica to listen to? It just felt, says Clark, kind of “inappropriate”.
And yet, a seed had been planted. One that would take a while to germinate. “I do remember thinking, ‘I’ll put this on hold for a bit and come back to it later’,” Clark recalls. In the three decades since, he has taken us on a series of intensive sonic odysseys, characterised by an unquenchable personal ambition to keep on climbing. From his 2001 debut, Clarence Park, onwards, there has been no template. You will encounter glowering techno and brittle, ghostly piano pieces; eerie, fluttering folktronics and found sounds – each time, something new, something unexpected.
Since their 2012 debut No Passion All Technique, the Detroit post-punk band Protomartyr have mastered the art of evoking place: the grinding Midwest humility of their hometown, as well as the x-rayed elucidation of America that comes with their vantage. Protomartyr—vocalist Joe Casey, guitarist Greg Ahee, drummer Alex Leonard, and bassist Scott Davidson—have become synonymous with caustic, impressionistic assemblages of politics and poetry, the literal and oblique.
The group’s sixth album, recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, is called Formal Growth In The Desert. And though frontman Joe Casey did have a humbling experience staring at awe-inspiring Sonoran rock formations and reckoning with his own smallness in the scheme of things – as recounted in the single “Elimination Dances” – the title is not necessarily a nod to the sandy expanses of the southwest. Detroit, too, is like a desert. “The desert is more of a metaphor or symbol,” Casey says, “of emotional deserts, or a place or time that seems to lack life.” The desert brings an existential awareness that is ultimately internal.
The “growth” came from a period of colossal transition for Casey, including the death of his mother. Now 45, Casey had lived in the family home in northwest Detroit all his life until 2021, when a surge of break-ins signaled that it was time to move out. As with all touring artists, the pandemic years also brought on other inner quandaries about the purpose and feasibility of a musician’s life.
Michigan rapper BabyTron stands out for applying his lyrical wit and clever punchlines to uncommon instrumentals. After his 2019 track “Jesus Shuttlesworth” went viral on the strength of BabyTron’s comical flow over a somewhat throwback synth pop backdrop, he became known for his ability to rap over any outlandish beat, which he exhibited on releases like 2021 mixtape Bin Reaper 2 and 2022 album Megatron. With 2022’s Bin Reaper 3: Old Testament, he reached the top half of the Billboard 200.
BabyTron was born James Johnson in 2000 and grew up in Ypsilanti, Michigan. In his teens, he formed rap group ShittyBoyz with friends TrDee and StanWill. ShittyBoyz were part of the Detroit area scam rap scene of the late 2010s, but when BabyTron struck out on his own, his songs were more focused on speedy flows and cuttingly humorous lyrics. A few solo singles arrived in 2019, as did his Bin Reaper mixtape, which featured appearances from Lil Yachty, BandGang Javar, and others. Some buzz began forming around BabyTron’s unique presentation and beat selection at this time, and he quickly released more music, sharing mixtapes like Sleeve Nash, Back to the Future, Luka Troncic, and Bin Reaper 2 over the next two years. In 2022, he released Megatron, an album-length project that included guest spots from GTP Daidoe, DaBoii, and Glockboyz. Another full-length, Bin Reaper 3: Old Testament, charted at number 69 on the Billboard 200.
Niko Moon has really clear memories. Music, cars, school. How much his parents loved each other, created a place where life was an adventure – and what you had was all you needed.
His dad, a drummer turned truck driver, loved old cars. As a boy, he remembers a Falcon, “red interior, and the carpet. The way it smelled.” He used to love to pile in with his dad, riding around, going to get donuts – and listening to music.
“I was 8 or 9, and I didn’t get it,” he laughs. “It was John Prine. My dad’s favorite was ‘One Red Rose.’ It’s funny. I knew all the words. I’d be singing along without a clue, but loving it… loving the line ‘What I never knew, I never will forget…’”
Like Prine, Moon’s finger is on simple things that really matter; easy joy and how to find it, loving where you are and finding ways to write about it so everyone – the really smart, the can’t be-bothered – can find their way to the bliss. It’s what Moon seeks to capture and sow in his songs.
Growing up an hour outside of Atlanta, back when it was country not exurbia, life moved at a different pace. People knew each other, took their time, shared a meal on Sunday with their family and pitched in when someone needed a hand.
Like generations of Puerto Ricans before them, Raquel Berríos and Luis Alfredo Del Valle of experimental pop duo Buscabulla (slang for “troublemaker”) moved to the mainland United States to hustle for their dreams, but a longing for their island ran deep, never escaping their thoughts during the decade they resided there. It was in New York City that the Buscabulla sound was forged, elevated bedroom productions and unique juxtaposition of stylistic highs and lows: Raquel’s textured, high-pitched vocals counterpointed by Luis Alfredo’s poignant bassline; minimalist melodies that evoke throwback salsa and R&B; and whispery re-imaginings of catchphrases from 90s reggaeton and every-day island vernacular.
Buscabulla’s first two releases, EP I (2014), co-produced by Dev Hynes, and EP II (2017), garnered attention and a growing international hunger for the band. However despite their growing successes, in early 2018, in the wake of Hurricane María having wreaked havoc on an island already immersed in economic disarray, Raquel and Luis Alfredo’s longing for their native home became too much to ignore, and they made the decision to move back to Puerto Rico. It was in this context and during this transition that Buscabulla wrote their first album, Regresa, which explored the emotional impact of returning to a devastated home. Regresa was released on May 8, 2020 on Ribbon Music with additional production by Patrick Wimberly (Chairlift). It includes collaborations with Nick Hakim, legendary Puerto Rican singer Nydia Caro and Helado Negro. In 2022, they collaborated with Bad Bunny on the song “Andrea” from his album Un Verano Sin Ti
This performance has been rescheduled to Friday, July 21st. All previously purchased tickets for the March 11th show will be honored for the new date.
the year is 2057. teenage slang has unknowingly devolved to an old forgotten eldritch language. suddenly teens have begun casting black magic spells while conversing with their pals. the sky goes black and a portal appears. thousands of black magic elves crawl out and wipe out all of earths population leaving only one man alive. that man is JAWNY fka Johnny Utah.
Singer and songwriter d4vd (pronounced David) is known for his moody, bedroom-style indie pop. After initially gaining attention for his Fortnite videos, he broke through with his 2022 single “Romantic Homicide.”
Houston native David Anthony Burke, aka d4vd, started posting videos of himself playing the video game Fortnite while still in his teens. In 2021, after teaching himself how to make his own music on BandLab, he also began posting his own music, including laid-back indie pop productions like “You and I,” “Life’s a Dream,” and “Take Me to the Sun.” In July 2022, he uploaded the darker, more emo-influenced production “Romantic Homicide.” The song went viral and by that September had peaked at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100. This led to a deal with Darkroom Records.
No salve soothes quite like music does. Like the ultimate balm, it releases tension and stress and reinvigorates the spirit. With a warm patchwork of rock ‘n’ roll, psychedelia, folk, alternative, and blues, Heartless Bastards unlock healing and catharsis within their music. Whether in the studio or on stage, the Austin-based band fronted by vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Erika Wennerstrom calm as they captivate. After generating over 100 million total streams and enrapturing audiences at legendary venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the group continue to connect with listeners everywhere through boundary-breaking sonics and straight-from-the-heart lyrics.
“Music is medicine,” observes Erika. “It gives me a sense of purpose beyond just creating art. The idea someone might find comfort in it or it can actually help another person is incredible to me. I don’t know if I ever thought about it in those terms when I was younger. I’ve realized it over the years though.”
At the turn-of-the-century, Erika founded Heartless Bastards in Cincinnati, OH. Inspired by the likes of Joan Jett, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and more, she cut early demos in 2003, performing the bulk of the instruments herself. A bartending gig inspired the name Heartless Bastards. The bar’s touch screen game posed the question, “What is Tom Petty’s backing band?” and offered “The Heartless Bastards” as an answer option, so she accepted this humorous twist of fate and adopted it as her band’s moniker.
The band initially came to life with Stairs and Elevators in 2005, building a discography of fan favorites highlighted by All This Time , The Mountain , and the seminal Arrow . The latter captured #2 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums Chart, went Top 10 on the Tastemaker Albums Chart, and even cracked the Top 200. “Only For You” notably amassed north of 42.6 million Spotify streams and 17.2 million YouTube views. In the wake of the album, Time attested, “Wennerstrom’s voice is one of the cornerstones of their success. It is tender even when it is severe, and she is unabashedly soulful even when she rocks, almost as though she were at once performing a slow country ballad and singing alongside Mark Bolan from T. Rex.”
Meanwhile, 2021’s A Beautiful Life arrived to widespread praise from Uncut, Glide, and Classic Rock with Pitchfork going as far as to claim, “A Beautiful Life is her best album as a vocalist, as she finds new ways to bend her voice to different styles and sounds.” In addition to sharing the stage with The Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, Wolfmother, Lucinda Williams, and The Avett Brothers, they lit up festivals a la Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Newport Folk Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, and more. Through it all, Heartless Bastards constantly evolve.
“The vibe is pretty eclectic,” she goes on. “My voice ties it together. The earlier albums were a bit more garage- and punk-influenced. We’ve drawn from classic rock, indie, and folk too. I love music, and I’m always exploring sounds.”
In 2022, they celebrate the 10th anniversary of Arrow with a special limited-edition re-release on vinyl, new acoustic recordings, and the addition of the previously unavailable “Got to Have Rock and Roll,” “Parted Ways,” and “Bye Bye Baby Blues” originally by George “Little Hat” Jones.
“Arrow is the album that reached the most people,” she smiles. “It’s cool to celebrate the success of it and give fans something else. The response to ‘Only For You’ made me feel connected to people everywhere in a beautiful way. I’ll always be grateful for Arrow.” In the end, Heartless Bastards might just be able to heal what ails you.
“Ultimately, I hope people enjoy themselves when they’re listening to our records or seeing us live,” she leaves off. “Playing shows really brings me a lot of joy. I hope the connection translates. I’m ready to tour a lot and release more music.
Lime Cordiale’s infectious performances and genuine interactions with their fans has made them one of Australia’s buzziest bands. It’s a fact that was reflected in July when they scored their first #1 album on the ARIA Charts with “14 Steps to a Better You”.
In a watershed moment last year, Lime Cordiale chalked up an incredible 8x ARIA Award nominations, making them the most nominated act of 2020 and landing them their debut ARIA Award for Best Breakthrough Artist. Soon afterward, in January’s triple j Hottest 100 countdown, the band scored 5x tracks in the top 26,”On Our Own” claiming 11th position.
Starting over isn’t always easy, yet resisting change is almost always fruitless. Nanna Hilmarsdóttir knew this intuitively when she began to write the songs for her first solo album, How to Start a Garden. In these ethereal yet grounded songs, she sings of being lost and hopeful, remaining calm through apocalypses large and small, with orchestration that feels as organic as a forest while also sculpted and modern.
Few debuts arrive, however, with experience as extensive as Nanna’s. After a childhood in a tiny town in rural Iceland, she spent most of her twenties in recording studios and global tours with her band, Of Monsters and Men, which arrived in 2011 to almost immediate ubiquity as their first album, My Head Is An Animal, topped charts worldwide. Their live prowess landed them headlining festival spots around the world. With three impressive and globally successful albums under their belt, Nanna found herself writing an album she felt needed to be delivered in her very own way. Like most of us, the years since 2020 have necessitated changes both mundane and enormous; like few of us, Nanna, as at home on a festival stage as in a rural cabin, is fluent in polarity.
The Drums have officially returned with “I Want It All,” a brand new single via ANTI-. Soul-searching ruminations, confrontations of childhood trauma and epiphanies of self-acceptance are entangled within the song, which for Jonny Pierce – the founding auteur behind The Drums – serves as a piece of art that’s as exposed as it is triumphant. Imbued with a sense of freshly-absorbed introspection, “I Want It All” marks the debut offering from The Drums’ forthcoming album and first studio project since 2019’s Brutalism.
Soaring to alt-pop prestige nearly fifteen years ago with a renowned self-titled debut, The Drums continue to thrive, influence and reinvent with every project. Pierce initially conceived of the band back in 2008 and what resulted was worldwide acclaim and a string of five studio albums that deftly walk the line of aching melancholy and irresistible pop sensibilities, presented through a kaleidoscope of pastel guitars, reverb, modular synthesizers and drum machines. It’s a sound that’s wholly unique, and unmistakably The Drums.
Pecos & the Rooftops:
Their latest E.P. “Red Eye” released January 24, 2020.
There’s a line on Honey, the latest album from Nashville-via-NYC songwriter Samia, about Aspen Grove, a collection of 40,000 trees in the plains of North America, all connected by a single expansive root system. There’s no stronger metaphor for the audience the 25-year-old empathy engine has been generating since she began releasing music seven years ago. Her songs, her fans, her friends: one enormous, interconnected ecosystem. Honey, comprised of eleven new moments of catharsis, is by and for that organism.
Set for release on January 23rd 2023 via Grand Jury Music, the album was recorded at North Carolina studio Betty’s –- owned and operated by Sylvan Esso’s Nick Sandborn and Amelia Meath. It was produced by Caleb Wright, part of the team that helmed Samia’s breakthrough 2020 debut The Baby, and a founding member of one of Samia’s favorite bands, The Happy Children. It features some of her nearest and dearest friends: Christian Lee Hutson, Briston Maroney, Jake Luppen, Raffaella. Its songs were surreptitiously road tested for her devotees while opening for Lucy Dacus, Courtney Barnett, and more. The end result is what Samia calls simply “a real community record.” “We tried to be as honest as possible and keep the songs as raw as possible,” Samia said. “We talked a lot about zooming out and zooming in, giving a lot of weight to the small moments and considering them as part of a big picture, how they factor into everything else that’s happening in the world.”
Due to high demand, this show has moved from the Wonder Ballroom to McMenamins Crystal Ballroom. All previously purchased Wonder Ballroom tickets will be honored at the new location.
Emerging from London’s vibrant Windmill scene with their debut album For the first time, Black Country, New Road quickly made inroads as ones to watch in 2021. The album brought an eclectic influence spanning genres and winning critical acclaim across the board, garnering support from both fans and critics, the album was also shortlisted for the Mercury Prize.
Second album Ants From Up There quickly followed on 3rd Feb 2022, landing at #3 in the UK Albums Chart – their second Top 5 UK album debut in 12 months. The record was once again lauded by fans and critics alike, gaining numerous 5* reviews and went on to appear on end of year lists across the globe, including being voted #1 by fans on r/indieheads, Rate Your Music and #3 by Pitchfork readers. All of this despite being released just days after frontman Isaac Woods announced his decision to step away from the band.
Fresh from the success of Ants From Up There, with a full touring schedule ahead of them in 2023, the band, now as a six-piece, remaining members Lewis Evans, May Kershaw, Georgia Ellery, Luke Mark, Tyler Hyde and Charlie Wayne decided to write an entire new set of material to perform. They played to swelling crowds at festivals, including triumphant performances at Primavera, Green Man and Fuji Rock, entering a new musical phase as they navigated and developed songs that were just weeks old. They also toured the US with black midi and headlined two sold-out shows in New York.
As the songs continued to develop on the road they decided to avoid conventional next steps. People waiting on new material have eight new, excellent songs to hear, but not in the way they might have expected. “We didn’t want to do a studio album,” says BC, NR pianist May Kershaw, who is one of the three band members, along with saxophonist Lewis Evans and bassist Tyler Hyde, now taking on vocal duties. “We wrote the new tracks specifically to perform live, so we thought it might be a nice idea to put out a performance.”
The result is a filmed live performance, directed by Greg Barnes, that took place over three nights at London’s Bush Hall. “It’s about capturing the moment,” says Evans. “A little time capsule of these eight months that we’ve had playing these songs on the road.”
Ziggy Alberts is an Australian singer-songwriter and author who has established himself as one of Australia’s leading independent artists. His genuine grassroots story has lifted his artistry into
universal acclaim, captivating audiences across the globe – a testament to his song writing ability and powerful live performance.
Founder of his own independent label, Commonfolk Records, and book publishing house, Commonfolk Publishing, Ziggy Alberts has managed to craft what many musicians and authors dream of – the ability to tell a story on their own terms. His sixth-studio album, DANCING IN THE DARK, is no exception, providing yet another example of how he showcases his artistic growth and shares his ever-evolving story with the world.
With over 1.6 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone, global show sizes on the continuous rise and praise from the likes of Billboard Magazine, American Songwriter, Ear Milk and Clash UK, there is no doubt this will be Ziggy Alberts’ year. In 2022, Ziggy was awarded with an APRA for his track letting go. He has also earned ARIA Platinum certifications for Laps Around The Sun (Double Platinum), Gone, Runaway, Heaven, Love Me Now, Stronger and Four Feet in the Forest (EP) plus, Gold certifications for his Laps Around The Sun album and six tracks in his catalogue.
Deep in the making of their new album Exotico, British psych-rockers Temples learned of the early-modern phenomenon of phantom islands: bodies of land included on maps for a period of time but later found to be nonexistent, often the consequence of oceanic mirage or deliberate mythmaking. Produced by Sean Ono Lennon, the Kettering-bred band’s fourth full-length takes place in a similarly mystical setting, an impossibly utopic island dreamed up by singer/guitarist James Bagshaw, bassist Tom Walmsley, keyboardist/guitarist Adam Smith, and drummer Rens Ottink. With its resplendent collage of psychedelia and krautrock and time-bending dream-pop, Exotico brings that world to life in crystalline detail, all while exploring an entire spectrum of existential themes: impermanence, mortality, our connection with nature and the wild immensity of the mind. Equal parts cerebral and celestial, the result is a truly immersive body of work, fully affirming Temples as one of today’s most forward-thinking and endlessly inventive rock bands.
The Expendables haven’t proven anything, but in their nearly 25-year career since starting out as a spirited party band in high school performing surf-rock covers for birthdays and family gatherings. A quarter-century later, elementary school buddies Raul Bianchi, Adam Peterson and Geoff Weers, along with bassist Ryan DeMars, who joined in 2000, have forged a unique sound born in the laid-back beach life in their hometown of Santa Cruz, CA. The Expendables’ infectious hybrid of ska, surf-rock, punk, reggae and metal can be heard in their latest streaming track, “Surfman Cometh,” a spaghetti-western meets “Pipeline” twang that could easily form the soundtrack to the latest Quentin Tarantino film. The song is the first release from the group’s new and improved Band Room, their longtime rehearsal space in a 1,100 square foot warehouse and former wine cellar on Coral Street, where Adam Patterson took charge of the final mix to great effect. The band’s previous studio album of original material, 2015’s Sand in the Sky, was followed by The Expendables’ second release featuring acoustic reworkings of past material, Gone Raw, 2019’s follow-up to 2012’s Gone Soft. The Expendables continue woodshedding until they can get back out on the road. Their 2017 Moment EP, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae chart, showed a different musical direction, featuring collaborations with reggae crooner HIRIE, rapper Tech N9ne, Eric Rachmany, and Micah Peuschel.
Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer knew they had balked before they even got home. In the Fall of 2021, Joyner and Widmer—for a dozen years, the beguiling garage-pop pair known as Generationals—wrapped the second of two sessions in Georgia for a new EP. They’d opted out of the process of file-sharing they had used for years. Choosing instead to cut songs straight to tape in Athens, a spiritual epicenter for their brand of twinkling tunes. The results sounded great, but they didn’t think their songs were actually that exciting or up to snuff. Why busy everyone else with the rigamarole of releasing a record when they weren’t convinced by it themselves? Joyner and Widmer scrapped the sessions, relieved. The decision, after all, did not represent some existential crisis for Generationals, some what-are-we-doing-here panic; it was, instead, a validation of trusting their process and respective enthusiasms, of releasing great records rather than churning out substandard “content.” Before the veto was final, Joyner and Widmer were working on songs they already knew passed that test.
Heatherhead is the winning result of that restart. Effortless and endearing, as settling as a long hug from an old friend, Heatherhead is not only the best Generationals album yet but also the one that, after all these years, finds Joyner and Widmer at last epitomizing their sound. These 11 songs are no-fuss, no-filler manifestations of Generationals’ bittersweet beauty, of would-be rock anthems made to feel like cozy sweaters. Maybe it’s the way the thick riff of the indelible “Dirt Diamond” frames a vulnerable admission or how the taut rhythm section of “Hard Times for Heatherhead” buoys a smitten plea, but this record at large feels like Joyner and Widmer digging deeper into the juxtapositions that have long made Generationals so compelling—distinct but familiar, wry but warm, soft but pointed. Heatherhead is the record Joyner and Widmer have been pursuing from the start.
All was not lost down in Georgia, it seems, as the act of recording in the same room seemed to shake something loose for Joyner and Widmer. With Joyner still in the band’s hometown of New Orleans and Widmer now in Wisconsin, they’d grown comfortable passing ever-evolving tracks back and forth, adding parts or offering suggestions to one another as albums steadily cohered. They’d done compelling stuff that way, too. But after abandoning those in-person sessions, they decided to commingle ideas earlier this time. Joyner escaped the Louisiana heat in June 2022 by heading north, the two rendezvousing in Madison with loads of demos. They augmented one another’s takes in real time, shaping songs that fell together like puzzle pieces. When a tornado ripped through Widmer’s front yard and left them without power for days, they took it not as a sign to stop but as an invitation to just enjoy still being the buds in Generationals, drinking warm beer and listening to an emergency radio together.
Back in their respective quarters, Joyner and Widmer went to work with multi-instrumentalist, producer, and pal Nick Krill (The War on Drugs, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Spinto Band), creating a cross-country file-sharing triangle. They moved quickly, finishing Heatherhead—their sixth LP, but first in four years—that way in a mere matter of months. Despite all their fretting a year earlier about making music together in a room, these songs somehow felt more conversational and lived-in, like two old pals throwing a few back and tunefully singing of toil and joy. The true circumstances are ironic, given that, for 42 minutes, you feel like you’re right there with them.
Indeed, these are the sorts of songs you want to stay with for a while, to crawl inside of and have a look around for all the crafty details. Notice the way the sizzling little riff seems to bounce between the walls of “Elena,” an enchanting collaboration with Sarah Jaffe that glows like a woodstove in a winter cabin. Marvel at the muted funk of “Eutropius (Give Me Lies),” particularly the way the byzantine drum lines percolate beneath Joyner’s cotton-candy falsetto. And enjoy the marvelous seesaw of opener “Waking Moment,” a song that squeezes a dozen dynamic shifts and at least half as many hooks into four minutes that are as cool as a breeze. You can do this with every song on Heatherhead, limn those bits that give these seemingly billowing tunes real ballast; you could, on the other hand, just let them surround you, seemingly simple pleasures abounding.
“Closer to your death than to your birth,” Joyner sings during “Faster Than a Fever,” his voice traced by spring-loaded drums and sighing keys. “You’re gonna be upset to miss your favorite part.” It would be tempting for a band like Generationals—now well into their second decade—to let such an anxious feeling override their instincts. That might mean putting out something they didn’t love or reinventing their approach to chase a fanciful trend. To the contrary, Joyner and Widmer now have a better understanding of who they want to be and how they want to sound than ever before. You can hear it in every distinct but familiar, wry but warm, soft but pointed second of Heatherhead—a perpetually renewing relationship that gave them the wherewithal to pursue these 11 songs, apart and then together and apart again.
Amsterdam-based duo Weval (made up of Harm Coolen & Merijn Scholte Albers) announce their long awaited new album “Remember,” out 3rd March on Ninja Tune imprint Technicolour. With the announcement the duo share a new single “Don’t Lose Time.” The album embarks on a high energy journey of nostalgic memories and euphoric emotions, seeing the electronic duo reminisce on their own musical journey while reflecting on key influences and inspiration over the years. “We played and embraced this with unshameful nostalgic feelings around discovering music as young music fans” they commented.
‘Remember’ plays around with memory and its ability to distort. As Weval elaborate, “Time is constantly escaping you and when you look back, memories distort — sometimes negatively, sometimes fake, sometimes euphoric and romanticised.” This central theme is explored in sonic contrasts as Weval employ heavily contorted beats with the potential to destroy speakers, only to be salvaged from the brink of collapse by melodically hopeful chords. Their new bombastic sound came as a result of new songwriting methods that saw Weval mashing together seemingly disparate ideas that held completely different lives and energies. Elements of pop, dance and every genre in between are thrown in and whittled down to make their most intense, spontaneous and substantial work to date.
The upcoming album follows on from the 2022 singles “Never Stay For Love,” featuring Dutch singer-songwriter Eefje de Visser, and “Forever.” Both tracks offered early previews to ‘Remember,’ leaning on highly textured, driving and sophisticated electronica which the duo have become widely known for.
Weval are well known amongst peers and critics for their beautifully composed melodies and songwriting. Previous press coverage includes impressive support from Pitchfork, Billboard, The Line of Best Fit, Resident Advisor, DJ Mag, Mixmag, Clash, SPIN, Brooklyn Vegan, Crack Magazine, Dummy, Magnetic Mag, The Vinyl Factory and more. Radio highlights include a live performance at the historic Maida Vale studio for BBC Radio 1’s Residency series (alongside artists such as Moderat, Darkstar, Gold Panda, Jessy Lanza and AKASE), plus support from the likes of Lauren Laverne, Tom Ravenscroft, KEXP, KCRW, SiriusXMU, Beats In Space and many more. Their music has been featured in TV shows Good Girls, Industry, and the HBO hit drama I May Destroy You by Michaela Coel. Weval recently completed a EU/UK and US tour with stops along Berlin, Istanbul, Brooklyn, Miami, LA, Vancouver and more. They have previously performed with a live five-piece band to emphatic festival crowds at Primavera Sound, Sonar Festival Istanbul, DGTL Amsterdam, Lightning In A Bottle, OSHEAGA, Lost Village, Lowlands, Down The Rabbit Hole, Best Kept Secret and many more. They’ll return to the stage this Spring on a run of EU/UK and North America dates.
Los Angeles based, and New York raised indie pop project Yoke Lore is the solo musical venture of Adrian Galvin, previously of Yellerkin and Walk the Moon. Yoke Lore layers like Bon Iver, beats like M83, and gets to the heart of things like Phoebe Bridgers does. Galvin’s songs combine echoing waves of banjo, vocals, and percussion to create arresting pop music with tactile candor and conviction. Galvin grew up in an artistic family, his mother a director and his father an actor and sculptor. He was immersed in painting, photography, and ballet from an early age, eventually finding his first musical passion in the drums. While pursuing music, his artistry in other disciplines has not faltered, even lending his own designs to all his music’s cover art, as well as choreographing & dancing for some of his music videos. Galvin tours non-stop, playing shows and festivals spanning North America and Europe. His music has amassed 450M+ streams and he has earned an RIAA Gold certification for his hit song “Beige”. Yoke Lore has released their first song of 2023 with the cinematic and emotive “Winona” on May 11th and will be following up with much more music very soon.
Identity forever under construction
Timecop1983 is a producer from The Netherlands. His style is best described as romantic and cinematic, inspired by the 1980’s. He is a one-man band creating Synthwave music with (vintage)
synthesizers and his computer. He works together with other musicians and vocalists regularly. He started making music when he was 12 when a friend gave him a floppy disk with Scream Tracker for MS-DOS. Timecop1983 didn’t have any musical background and he never learned to play a musical instrument, but he was determined to learn to make his own music. After years of experimenting and learning how to create music he got inspired by the movie Drive (2011) and he decided to create Synthwave. That’s when Timecop1983 was born.
He is now considered as one of the top artists in the Synthwave genre and has released multiple albums, EP’s and singles which have accumulated millions of plays on the major digital music platforms. All the while staying independent. His music has been featured in various (short) films, including major productions like DC’s “Legends of Tomorrow” and Netflix’ “Lucifer” and he has done several soundtracks for videogames and other productions.
For his live shows Timecop1983 has teamed up with his longtime collaborator Josh Dally to bring a great live experience. Josh Dally is a UK based singer/songwriter who has made a name for himself in the music scene with his many collaborations, his band At1980 and his debut album “Speak Your Mind”, which was very well received by industry leading critics. The live show is a combination of classic Timecop1983 instrumentals, combined with the best collaborations of the duo. Featuring unique visuals and a stunning lightshow.
Synth-Pop artist Roosevelt has shared his latest single, the anthemic ‘Ordinary Love’, which is also his debut release on Ninja Tune’s Counter Records imprint. The track is his first release since his 2022 collaboration ‘Passion’ with the legendary Nile Rodgers.
Roosevelt, is the artist moniker for Marius Lauber. The German producer, instrumentalist, vocalist and DJ’s kaleidoscopic new track weaves together funky bass, shoegaze-leaning guitars, vibrant synths and a stadium-sized chorus, with the psychedelic fusion combining to transcendent effect.
“I wanted to create some kind of urgency that resembles the euphoria of a new love, with all its bliss but also the uncertainty that comes with it,” he says of the track.
Having left his studio in Cologne in search of new inspiration, the track was written in an isolated cabin in the Elysian Heights of Los Angeles last summer.
Layering many synths together, Roosevelt originally called the single ‘Wall Of Sound’ when he was working on the initial demo. Sonically, the idea of the sound of the sirens, which are played on a vintage Prophet 5, came as he wanted to “create an underlying feeling of instability.
“It worked out as a great contrast to the melodic chords,” Roosevelt adds, “as there’s always a slight disharmony going on throughout the track”.
Growth occurs across different layers. Reflecting personal changes from a whirlwind five years, Movements realize the full scope of their storytelling, musicianship, and vision. Not only does the music address the emotional push-and-pull of relationships, but it also explores loss, love, mental health, and even intimacy through a prism of newfound clarity soundtracked by post-punk grit, alternative expanse, heartfelt spoken word, expensive rock, and subtle pop ambition. The Southern California quartet—Patrick Miranda [vocals], Ira George [guitar], Spencer York [drums], and Austin Cressey [bass]—reach this place on their second full-length album, No Good Left To Give [Fearless Records].
“When we started this band, I was 19-years-old,” says Patrick. “I’m 24 now. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last five years. Those lessons influenced my writing style in terms of how I incorporate my experiences into the lyrics. There’s more I want to be able to portray. There are more themes I want to talk about. Our preferences have changed. The changes come through the record.”
“Over the course of making this record, we found ourselves as people,” Austin concurs. “It allowed us to really discover what we can do musically. We’ve evolved as musicians. Every instrument, the bass, the drums, the guitars, and vocals have been stepped up to a different level—but it’s still Movements.”
Movements quietly worked towards this moment since forming in 2015. Following the 2016 EP Outgrown Things, the group cemented a singular sound on their 2017 full-length debut, Feel Something. Eclipsing 40 million total streams by 2020, it immediately connected by way of “Daylilly” [11.1 million Spotify streams], “Full Circle” [6.1 million Spotify streams], and “Colorblind” [5.5 million Spotify streams]. Along the way, the four-piece received acclaim from Brooklyn Vegan, AXS, Rock Sound, Culture Collide, and more. In between packing shows worldwide, they joined forces with Alzheimer’s Association for the “Deadly Dull” video and covered “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. for the Songs that Saved My Life compilation.
During 2019, the guys entered the studio with longtime producer and frequent collaborator Will Yip [Title Fight, Turnover] to record No Good Left To Give. Movements spent the most time they ever had in the studio, which resulted in the most collaborative effort to date with Will, adding another dimension to the tunes.
“At its core, the new record is what we’ve always been, which is emotional, real, and honest music,” Patrick goes on. “We all know each other very well and understand our respective styles. We’re discussing mental health, struggles with relationships, and relatable things from our lives. At the same time, it’s a little darker.”
“The mood is a little heavier, for sure,” Austin elaborates. “It wasn’t based on any sort of influences. We didn’t try to emulate anyone. It’s very pure. We uncovered our originality.”
This original spirit shines on the first single “Don’t Give Up Your Ghost.” Ethereal guitars ebb and flow with a spectral glow as Patrick’s voice engages and enchants. Lyrically, it confronts the darkness of suicide head-on, “Don’t give up your ghost.”
“It talks about depression and suicidal thoughts and tendencies,” he sighs. “It’s told from the perspective of a person who is dealing with a friend who confides that he or she has attempted to kill him- or herself. However, this person has been there as well and has even made suicide attempts too. The person tries to console the friend and let him or know she’s not alone. It’s about not giving up when there’s so much more the world can offer. Even though you’re in a certain place right now, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be in the same place forever.”
On the other end of the spectrum, “Skin To Skin” slinks along on a bedpost-rattling beat as Pat’s voice snakes through seductive verses—“I wanna be inside”—towards an explosive refrain.
“It’s definitely the horniest song we’ve ever written,” the frontman laughs. “Since high school, Austin and I have joked around about how all of the best songs are about sex. We always wanted to write one; we finally did. It has to do with the idea of being so infatuated by your lover you just need to be engulfed. It’s horny.”
“It’s one of the dancier and faster tunes,” adds Austin. “It’s going to surprise a lot of people.”
Then, there’s “Seneca.” Popping off as “a rock banger,” buzzing distortion underpins an all-too relatable story.
“We all go through it,” Patrick continues. “The girl you love for a long time slips through your fingers, marries somebody else, and is going to have a family. You start worrying about what if and what could’ve been. It’s based on a true story about the one who got away.”
In the end, No Good Left To Give illuminates the growth of Movements as it also affirms their power to endure.
“I’d love for people to say, ‘I want to grow with this band’,” Patrick leaves off. “We always try to progress. This was natural for us. I hope listeners want to ride it out with us.”
On his third album Adjustments, singer-songwriter Noah Reid documents the kind of minor schisms and major upheavals that leave our lives forever altered. Endlessly revealing the nuance and character of his voice, the Toronto-bred artist imbues his incisive storytelling with a potent expression of unease and frustration and ineffable wonder—an emotional complexity perfectly echoed in the album’s elegantly orchestrated yet unpredictable form of alt-rock. At a time when turmoil feels strangely commonplace, Adjustments ultimately allows for a moment of quiet transcendence within the chaos, wholly transforming the very texture of our experience.
“I wrote this album during a transitional period where a lot of tectonic shifts were taking place in my life,” says Reid, also an accomplished actor known for his role as Patrick on the award-winning series Schitt’s Creek. “I was getting married, Schitt’s Creek was coming to an end, the pandemic was beginning—some of the changes were more internal and others were more at the societal level, but they all involved a shift in my thinking about the world around me.”
Recorded live at Toronto’s Union Sound Company and produced by Juno Award nominee Matthew Barber (who also helmed Reid’s 2016 debut album Songs from a Broken Chair and its 2020 follow-up Gemini), Adjustments came to life over a series of sessions with musicians like guitarist Christine Bougie (Bahamas, Amy Millan), drummer Joshua Van Tassel (Great Lake Swimmers, Amelia Curran), and trumpet player Bryden Baird (Feist, Ron Sexsmith). On the album-opening lead single “Everyday,” Reid offers a sublime introduction to the expansive sonic world of Adjustments, sharply contrasting the song’s heavy hearted mood with bright guitar tones and effervescent melodies. “I wrote that song in the early days of the pandemic, when I’d look out the window at this park that’s usually full of kids and families but now was totally desolate,” says Reid. “It came from a feeling of being forced into a sort of loneliness, and not really knowing what to do about that.” With its ethereal textures and swooning steel guitar, the piano-driven “Left Behind” speaks to the bittersweet freedom of living life at your own unhurried pace. Meanwhile, on “Rivers Underground,” Reid presents a gorgeously tender meditation on love and luck and risk, amplifying the track’s intensity with a luminous string arrangement courtesy of Drew Jurecka (a Grammy-nominated composer who’s worked with Buffy Sainte-Marie and The Weather Station). “My wife Clare and I have talked at various points about how easy it would’ve been for us not to find our way to each other,” says Reid. “Writing that song, I was thinking about how Toronto’s built on all these underground creeks and rivers, and how that’s a good metaphor for the strangeness of human connection—these waters trying to find their way out to the lake, flowing together or ending up apart.”
One of the most galvanizing moments on Adjustments, “Statue’s in the Stone” begins as a weary lament for the state of the human heart (“We treat it like it’s all infinite/And we throw it all away”), then unfolds into a soul-stirring anthem lit up in lush harmonies and incandescent horns. “We live in a very judgmental time, where social media really highlights this urge to tear each other down,” says Reid. “But I think if we looked inside ourselves with any kind of honesty, we’d realize that what we need is within us, and we’d be able to lead with a little more love and kindness.” Several songs later, Adjustments closes out with the thrilling catharsis of “Everything’s Fine”: an eight-minute epic that reaches an ecstatic frenzy at its gloriously sprawling, guitar-drenched bridge. “Over the past few years it seems like we’re simultaneously being told everything’s fine and absolutely nothing is fine, and it can be so hard to tell what’s real,” says Reid. “That song came from the confusion of that, and in the studio we decided to just to let the band rip and completely burn the house down.”
A longtime musician who began composing melodies on piano as a child and later developed his song craft while studying at the National Theatre School of Canada, Reid infuses all of Adjustments with the clarifying directness of a close conversation—yet unfailingly demonstrates a poet’s ability to draw immense meaning from the most granular details. As a result, the album abounds with warmly delivered wisdom—an element that’s illuminating for both audience and artist alike. “Sometimes a line will jump out of my mouth when I’m out on a walk or driving or alone in my house playing piano or guitar, and I’ll just to try to follow that line wherever it takes me,” says Reid in discussing his creative process. “I often don’t really understand what I’m saying as I’m saying it, but then I’ll listen back later on and go, ‘Oh, okay—that was useful.’ This record has definitely done that for me, and I hope it will keep on talking to me over time.
Enter Blanco White’s bewitching world and you won’t want to leave. Sensual songs unfurl like spells, time seems to stand still. Close your eyes and you could be dreaming. Magic, you’d swear, was at work.
Blanco White is the guise of guitarist, singer and songwriter Josh Edwards, a Brit whose heart belongs in southern Spain and the Andean mountains. In the former, Josh fell for flamenco. In the latter, he learnt charango. Both are pivotal to Blanco White’s otherworldly tunes.
A trio of increasingly accomplished EPs released between 2016 and 2018 saw him become a streaming sensation, a staple of thousands of Spotify playlists, now with fans all over the world. With every release Blanco White has gone up a gear, from the haunting acoustic sound of 2016’s The Wind Rose EP to the meatier, more expansive tracks off his debut album ‘On the Other Side’ which was released in June 2020.
Following the release of his successful first album ‘On the Other Side’ in 2020, a UK headline tour in May 2022, and a Jose Gonzalez and Gregory Alan Isakov support across Europe, Blanco White is now back with stunning new EP ‘Time Can Prove You Wrong’ and an extensive headline tour across Europe and North America in autumn 2023.
Hailing from Detroit, Michigan – JMSN (pronounced ‘Jameson’) has emerged on the international stage as one of the music industry’s most sought-after performers and producers. JMSN has built a reputation for himself through his unforgettable live performances and his trademark sounds, garnering nods from R&B/Soul legends, such as Puff Daddy, Usher, and founding member of The Commodores, Thomas McClary. JMSN’s impressive talents have been tapped by the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, J. Cole, The Game, Tyga, Ab-Soul, Kaytranada, Sango, Ta-ku, and many more leading some to describe JMSN as “your favorite artist’s favorite artist.”
“Life changes fast,” Joan Didion once wrote. “Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.”
In the spring of 2020, Blonde Redhead singer and multi-instrumentalist Kazu Makino encountered this passage from Didion’s 2005 memoir of grief, The Year of Magical Thinking, in which the author reflected on the devastating experience of witnessing her husband’s sudden death at the dinner table. Amid the profound uncertainty of those early pandemic months, Makino was thinking of her own parents far away in Japan; the then-lost ritual of congregating for dinner with family; and the heavy, omnipresent feeling that life could change in the instant for any of us.
With plainspoken language and incandescent melodies, Makino narrated these feelings on a pair of songs, “Sit Down for Dinner Pt I” and “Sit Down for Dinner Pt II,” which helped title the tenth full-length from Blonde Redhead. “Sit Down to Dinner Pt II” thematically transcends time: “It’s sort of about death, but the music is so alive and groovy,” Makino says. Yet, the title Sit Down for Dinner has a separate resonance for the Italian members of Blonde Redhead, the Milan-born twin brothers Amedeo Pace (singer / multi-instrumentalist) and Simone Pace (drummer). “Culturally, dinner is important to us,” Simone says of the nonnegotiable family ritual. “It’s a moment for us to sit down and have time with each other. We grew up that way. I know a lot of people eat and run, eat in front of their TV, or don’t care about it too much—and that’s OK—but we really do.” Dinner has long been a sacred ritual for Blonde Redhead as a band as well; when they’re on tour or rehearsing, they always share a meal, no matter what.
Owing to that sense of persistent togetherness, the immersive, meticulously-crafted Sit Down for Dinner is a testament to the unique internal logic Blonde Redhead have refined over their three-decade existence. Formed in the 1993 New York indie underground, Blonde Redhead quickly found a place on Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley’s label, Smells Like, before releasing beloved records on Touch & Go and 4AD that traced an arc from angular indie-rock to cosmopolitan art pop. The trio might have been a quintessential ’90s band, if not for the fact that they continuously kept going, growing, never confined to any era but the present.
On Sit Down for Dinner, the understated yet visceral melodies charging each song create a foil to lyrics about the inescapable struggles of adulthood: communication breakdown in enduring relationships, wondering which way to turn, holding onto your dreams. Going into the record, Makino had recently spent time living on a tiny Italian island and pursuing solo music—an experience that instilled in her new confidence to experiment and have fun. She returned to New York as the world was locking down, quarantining with Amedeo and his partner upstate, where they focused on the music in seclusion. Immaculately structured, imbued with sensitivity, clarity, and resolve, Sit Down for Dinner was ultimately written and recorded over a five-year period spanning New York City, upstate, Milan and Tuscany.
The luminous groove and chord progression of “Snowman,” sung by Amedeo, is one of many Blonde Redhead songs inspired by the attitude and breeziness of Brazilian experimental music; a brilliant turn of phrase melts its titular snowman into simply a man, struggling to express himself: “Do you feel alive or do you only fall? So like a no man, that you are.” Makino wrote “Rest of Her Life” as an elegy for her cherished late horse, Harry, who she considered “almost like my soulmate” (and whose loss in 2020 moved her to read The Year of Magical Thinking). The song’s vocal layers were inspired by the Swingle Singers’ a capella renditions of Bach.
The subtly brooding “If” embodies the existential unease of middle age, struggling to orient oneself and locate where, and who, are home. The widescreen introspection of “I Thought You Should Know” confronts the experience of being misunderstood, or unheard, by those closest to you. On “Kiss Her Kiss Her,” when Makino sings, “Even stars are closer,” the lyric references a short story in Khul-Khaal, by the Arabic writer Nayra Atiya, in which a woman hopes to divorce her husband, and is told “even the stars are closer” than such a possibility. “It’s about someone with a bold, entirely far-fetched dream, where you know it will end in tears, but you want to be supportive anyway.”
Elsewhere, the songs of Sit Down for Dinner find ways forward in pure experimentation. “Melody Experiment” received its title when Makino “unlocked the song with the melody” in a moment of serendipity. “I was singing a little bit off, in a bluesy way, and I was so fascinated,” she says. “It feels quite new, like something I haven’t done before.” With its stacked backing vocals, “Before” was written with children’s voices in mind, narrated from the perspective of a kid who thinks they know it all. “Children have incredible abilities,” Makino says. “They have a confidence that is so whole, they can see through you a little.” Amid the windswept melodies and arrestingly bittersweet tone of “Not for Me,” Amedeo gave himself the challenge of vulnerability, writing while Makino was in Italy, longing for that kind of freedom. “You ran with the flowers/And further than water/And further than our walls,” he sings. “Move to the side, move to the light, move to a place that no one can find.”
Releasing Sit Down for Dinner in its 30th year, Blonde Redhead’s perseverance partially came in realizing that the process of making the record should necessarily be fun. “Usually I agonize and it’s painful for me to write music, but on this one, I didn’t suffer as much,” says Makino. “I wanted to put my foot down and say: we can have a nice time together. The record sounds quite optimistic.” Amedeo adds, “We do really respond to each other. We depend on each other for inspiration. Kazu completes what I start; Simone completes both with rhythm.”
Perhaps this gives the title Sit Down for Dinner yet another layer, as the music, fittingly, is a pleasure, with the ease of new conversation among familiar friends. Crucial to that equation are Blonde Redhead’s innate harmonic sensibilities, which Makino calls the core of the band. “We have a language we have kept,” she adds. “We try to change rhythms, concepts, and sounds. But that harmonic sensibility has stayed the same. It hits the same part of your heart.”
As an ambitious 26-year-old singer/songwriter, Dylan Matthew has gained over 5+ million monthly listeners on Spotify, 762K+ TikTok followers, has had multiple tracks in Billboard’s Dance Top 50, and has worked on more than 40 recorded projects — and shows no signs of slowing down. His viral single, “Love Is Gone” (acoustic) is RIAA Gold-certified and soon to be Platinum certified, with his top streamed track garnering over 650+ million streams worldwide, and amassing more than 182 million views on the YouTube video.
An engaging live performer, Dylan has wowed sold-out crowds in some of North America’s most storied venues and festivals including Coachella, Lollapalooza, EDC Las Vegas and recently sold out his first ever solo headline show in Los Angeles at Avalon Hollywood.
A southern California native, Dylan sang before he could talk. His childhood is reminiscent of folk, pop, and soul — shared by his dad, a former professional touring musician. Having grown up on greats such as Otis Redding, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, and more, this inspired Dylan to discover modern day interpretations by way of Ed Sheeran and Michael Bublé, whom he calls “a huge influence in how I write melodies and shape my voice.” Self-taught on piano and guitar, Dylan kept his musical talents private, focusing on sports and considering an altruistic career as a psychologist. Encouraged by friends and family, he performed publicly for the first time at his school’s talent show with John Legend’s “All of Me.” The exhilaration he felt onstage and the enthusiastic audience response then guided him on a path toward his passion in music.
He launched a YouTube channel at 18 years old, where he began posting acoustic covers and original songs. Dylan quickly cultivated a loyal following which would soon generate tens of millions of views. His inaugural EP, Over You (2016), yielded his first hit, the bouncy love song “All Day Long.” After reaching out to DJ/producer Kayzo, Dylan began providing vocals for dance tracks, beginning with Kayzo’s Black & White EP and the Slander x Kayzo collaboration “Without You.” Dylan released his second EP, the pop-rock Nocturnal Mind, the following year, which included “Sober,” his first single to reach one million streams on Spotify. His third EP, Only Up From Here, released the same year and featured the aspirational “Blurry Eyes.” A string of solo singles marked 2018 along with the Seven Lions x Slander x Dabin project “First Time,” his first of several songs to crack the Billboard Top 50 chart.
Dylan will add a new EP to his discography set to release in early 2023. Centered in indie pop with threads of alternative, R&B, soul and other genres woven throughout, the EP explores deeper feelings and personal beliefs, with heightened vulnerability in every lyric.
Dean Lewis knows what moves him. It’s the call that never came. It’s the cruel act of betrayal, the hope that fades, the moment of bliss recalled in darker days when all is lost. Most of all, it’s finding the turn of phrase, the tone and the melody that brings all this brimming to the surface of every heart that’s ever felt the same way.
“When I create music, I don’t just want to connect to the ears of the listener, I also want to connect to the heart. But when I can connect to both, it’s even better,” says the Sydney-born, Nashville-based singer-songwriter. With his heart-breaking second album, The Hardest Love, “if anything, I’ve gone further into myself, trying to zone in on the little niche I’m good at, really figuring out my voice, my reason to exist.”
That “little niche” has accounted for more than 7.5 billion streams and 3.8 million album and EP sales since Waves and Be Alright got under the skin of a smitten global audience circa 2016-2018. Dean’s #1 album, A Place We Knew, sealed a surreal trip from his grandma’s spare room to Jimmy Kimmel Live! touring Europe and the US three times and winning ARIAs for Album of the Year, Best Male Artist and Song of the Year (7 Minutes) along the way.
Still, life happens. And so do songs.
“Nearly all of these songs are about one girl,” Dean explains of the 10 new tracks on The Hardest Love. “She’s from Colorado, now she lives in LA, but I spent three, four years on the road thinking about her, calling her, writing songs for her. It was kind of a long-distance thing, but we became really, really close because I didn’t really have a home.”
As the rigours of the road ground to a sudden halt, the dream fell to Earth. “She was not the person, and I wasn’t ready,” Dean says. “We just didn’t work out. To me it was quite a dramatic thing because the person that I’d built up in my head didn’t exist. So all these songs just poured out …”
Looks Like Me was the first taste last October: a rhythmically upbeat song hiding a sinking feeling that slammed home with Hurtless, an instant 20-million-streaming second single in April. Each struck an achingly familiar chord: a crushing moment cast in the close-up cinematic style that’s become Dean’s trademark. From primetime TV in Denmark to his live return in the USA, his legion of fans welcomed him with a wave of intense emotion.
“I stared writing the album in this hotel on Sunset in West Hollywood,” he explains of the lengthy creation process. “I wrote in Nashville for a while, then I came back to LA and then went to London…” In each port of call, he experimented with various producers in search of the right sound and feeling. The pandemic meant time was on his side.
“There’s a famous quote that says people have their whole life to write their first album, and then six months to write the next one. I feel like I’ve had double the amount of time for this album than the first one.”
He recalls the jolt of ignition that greeted his first single, Waves, six years ago. “It blew up so fast and everything was so crazy that I didn’t have time to figure out what I was doing. This time I had a lot more time to think about what I liked about those songs, to go back and look at the things that made them work.”
The deep dive led to a reaffirmation of honest emotional content, and consolidation of Dean’s studio partnership with Waves/ Be Alright producers Nick Atkinson and Ed Holloway. Highlights of The Hardest Love include the uneasy surrender of Scares Me and the bracing title track, a deceptively dark song that builds from whisper to visceral brass finale.
How Do I Say Goodbye is a devastating song about the looming loss of a parent — one which had a happier ending in real life, Dean notes — with input from occasional collaborator Jon Hume. American pop journeyman Tyler Johnson (Harry Styles) co-created the tender lovers’ impasse, Something To Help.
Other songs were more solitary in nature and execution. “Me and this girl, we were talking on the phone,” Dean says of All For You, an optimistic centrepiece to an album of deeply affecting melancholy. “When I wrote it, I thought everything was going to work out. I played it to her when we hung out in LA. But I didn’t have the ending yet…”
By virtue of the remote recording process, Dean found himself co-producer of the album. “I had to learn how to do a lot more on this one,” he says. “I had to learn how to record my own vocals for a few of the songs; how to record my own acoustic guitar. All For You I recorded by myself, just me alone at an Airbnb in Malibu.”
The lion’s share of mixing fell to Mark ‘Spike’ Stent, a name Dean first saw in the credits of albums by Oasis and Ed Sheeran. “Spike is really good at blending pop with organic,” he says. “That’s what I’m aiming for. I want my songs to sound raw, but to be able to compete and be successful at the highest level. Blending those two things together, that’s a real skill.”
From hope to heartache and back again, The Hardest Love is “totally reflective of where I was in my life at that time,” Dean says. “It’s been a stressful few years… I don’t think I realised the pressure I was under because on the other side, man, I had nothing. I’d moved in with my grandma before I got a record deal. I had no money; on the verge of thinking that I had wasted all of the opportunities in my life.”
“When Waves and Be Alright blew up, I just sprinted so fast that maybe I got a bit burnt out. I’m good though, now. It’s been a crazy, crazy time. I can’t wait to play these songs for the people who bought my first album, ‘cause I really think they’re gonna love this one.”
Half Moon Run’s three multi-instrumentalist-slash-vocalists are Devon Portielje, Conner Molander, and Dylan Phillips. The trio’s origin story involves a 2009 Craigslist ad and a dingy jam space in Montreal’s Mile End, where they spent their formative years creating the restless, six-armed entity that composes and performs their intricate, kaleidoscopic songs—as well as writing their platinum debut album, Dark Eyes (Indica, 2012). Their sophomore effort, Sun Leads Me On, dropped in 2015 with Glassnote in the US and Communion in the UK. It was followed by A Blemish in the Great Light (2019), Seasons Of Change (2020) and Inwards and Onwards (2021)— two of which won a Junos for Adult Alternative Album of the Year. Half Moon Run’s newest single, “You Can Let Go,” is out worldwide with BMG on March 3, 2023
TEENAGERS is an album on which keyboards and analog synthesisers are predominant, just like on its predecessors. But it reveals a much more personal and ambitious side of Simon Henner.
TEENAGERS alternates between signature songs like the masterful opening song “One for Wendy”, as well as unsuspected romantic and nostalgic songs (“Romantica”), epic and flamboyant
tracks (“Memories”), tracks with liberating harmonies (“Heroes”), sensational electronic swirls (“FOIX”), pop gems (“You Always Say” feat. Prudence, the singer of The Dø), tracks characterised
by a carefree bliss (“Teenagers”), tracks with a destabilising energy (“Freedom”) and sumptuous introspective tracks (“Walking on Mars”).
But Simon Henner completely lays bare his soul when expressing his full vocal capacity at the microphone. With “Burning Legend”, “Life is Like” and “Graceful”, the Marseille-based producer
gives a glimpse of his extraordinary sensitivity and helps bend the idea that producers do not know how to reveal themselves. “Singing helps me embody my music alone on stage. I like to show who I am and try to convey what I feel. Making songs is a very personal process, sharing and performing them keeps me from being selfish”. Not only does this opus reflect his wide range of talents as a songwriter and producer, but also it definitely takes us on a very powerful sensorial and introspective journey.
“I love songs that make me surpass myself, overcome my fears, feel invincible; freedom is really what motivates me in life. That’s why I love my job so much, because I’m totally free to do what I want”. And for Simon Henner, there is nothing that embodies freedom better than adolescence and its sweet hint of naivety. In this sense, TEENAGERS is the soundtrack of an age in which anything is possible; uncertainties, desires and hopes are closely intertwined. “My music is inseparable from my life, I am constantly looking for intense and unforgettable moments, epiphanies engraved in the memory.”
TEENAGERS results in a tour de force: it represents a new milestone in the history of music and places French 79 among the artists who revolutionised electronic music and music as a whole. If
TEENAGERS gives us such unique and strong sensations, it is also due to the fact the album’s soul is filled with magical places, such as Jean-Michel Jarre’s own Parisian studio and the Miraval
studio in the South of France.
“These legendary studios have witnessed uninhibited and daring creations. At JeanMichel Jarre’s studio, I felt like a kid in front of all those legendary keyboards I’d always dreamt of. There was a true soul and an incredible atmosphere in this timeless studio: the arpeggios came to life, the chord progressions took on another dimension. I laid hands on those synths, those drummers
and those sequencers that marked music forever ; I touched the instruments that were used to compose the films and series soundtracks I grew up with. I felt like I was living a real sci-fi moment, as if I were travelling through time and space. This moment immediately took me back to my teenage years when I discovered these masterpieces. Many old sound memories as well as new melodies appeared in my brain.”
The album was mixed by Damien Quintard (Brian Eno, Parcels, Justice, Sade), L’Impératrice…) in the heart of the 17th century Provençal estate of Miraval – where the studio that welcomed Pink Floyd, AC/DC & The Cure is located. This renowned venue which recently reopened after being bought by Brad Pitt let French 79 achieve a long-time dream: “When I mix the album on the console and the reverb of Pink Floyd’s song “The Wall”, it gives me a divine sensation that I will remember for the rest of my life. I almost had some sort of mystical experience there (…) That feeling of being connected to those bands in a kind of “cosmic reality” felt like a fountain of youth, just when I was finalising the TEENAGERS album.”
In a world preoccupied with instant gratification and overnight success, LEISURE is taking the scenic route. The five members – and mates – are award-winning songwriters, producers and creatives. 2020’s Side A EP (Nettwerk Records) marks the latest chapter in their journey. While lyrics explore the nuances of romance and relationships, their sound pulls from influences as broad as Japanese city pop to Bill Withers. With years of experience between them, they draw on their individual strengths to hone every aspect of their sound and image. Everything’s underpinned by their genuine friendship and democratic writing process, ensuring LEISURE consistently delivers a steady stream of good vibes to soundtrack your lazy Sundays. After all, life in the slow lane has legs.
JP Cooper has done the legwork. Ten years in bands in and around his Manchester hometown. Multiple songs written on his own and with a variety of collaborators, a couple of which became global hits-that-will-not-die: Perfect Strangers with Jonas Blue and his own September Song, which is now sitting at some 600 million streams. An international solo career built on pure songcraft.
And he’s done the business. The singer-songwriter’s 2017 debut album Raised Under Grey Skies has sold in old-fashioned numbers: one million copies at time of writing. His 11 million monthly Spotify listeners have contributed to a grand – very grand – total of four billion total streams.
And, over the past 18 months, Cooper has done the hardest thing: built on all that to create a second album, a collection of 13 songs that work as together and work apart, that out-paces, out-sings and, by his exacting standards, out-classes his debut.
“My first record reached so many people on a personal level,” he reflects, “so they’ve built a relationship with it – and even now it keeps doing its thing. But coming back now, this is more of a body of work that’s been put together with thought and care and not in a rush. When you have a hit single that changes things and what the album should be – there’s pressure to write a load more singles.
Bold pop hooks, sex positivity, honest songwriting, and a heavy dose of glitter make up the world of Chappell Roan, the next multi-faceted force in pop music. Through her punchy bangers that combine fantastical narratives and heart-bearing self-reflection, the LA-based singer, songwriter, and performer born Kayleigh Rose Amstutz has emerged as the rare star who is both larger than life and real as fuck.
THE SOUND OF FUN! Some friends from Southern California who like to surf & make music out of their very hot garage.
Hania Rani is a pianist, composer and musician who, was born in Gdansk and splits her life between Warsaw, where she makes her home, and Berlin where she studied and often works. Her debut album ‘Esja’, a beguiling collection of solo piano pieces on Gondwana Records was released to international acclaim on April 5th 2019 including nominations in 5 categories in the Polish music industries very own Grammys, the Fryderyki, and winning the Discovery of the Year 2019 in the Empik chain’s Bestseller Awards and the prestigious Sanki award for the most interesting new face of Polish music chosen by Polish journalists. Rani also composed the music for her first full length movie “I Never Cry” directed by Piotr Domalewski and for the play “Nora” directed by Michał Zdunik. Her song “Eden” was used as a soundtrack of a short movie by Małgorzata Szumowska for Miu Miu’s movie cycle “Women’s Tales”
Her follow-up album, the expansive, cinematic, ‘Home’, is rebased on May 15th and finds Rani expanding her palate: adding vocals and subtle electronics to her music as well as being joined on some tracks by bassist Ziemowit Klimek and drummer Wojtek Warmijak. The album reunites her with recording engineers, Piotr Wieczorek and Ignacy Gruszecki (Monochrom Studio) and the tracks were again mixed again by Gijs van Klooster in his studio in Amsterdam and by Piotr Wieczorek in Warsaw ( Ombelico and Come Back Home). Home was mastered by Zino Mikorey in Berlin (known for his work on albums by artists such as Nils Frahm and Olafur Arnalds).
For Rani, Home, is very much a continuation of the work she started on Esja, “the completion of the sentence” as she puts it. The album offers a metaphorical journey: the story of places that become our home sometimes by chance, sometimes by choice. It is the story of leaving a place that is familiar and the journey that follows it. Home opens with the fragment of the short story “Loneliness” by Bruno Schulz, which can be seen as a parable of a journey that does not necessarily mean going beyond the physical door but can signify going beyond the symbolic limits of our knowledge and imagination.
Never content to follow, Highly Suspect push rock music forward by trusting their instincts and raising a middle finger to everything else. The multi-GRAMMY® Award-nominated and gold-certified band – Johnny Stevens [vocals, guitar], Ryan Meyer [drums, vocals], Rich Meyer [bass, vocals], Matt Kofos [guitar] and Mark Schwartz [synths] – don’t just talk about burning the rules and breaking the mold; they actually do so. The band’s chemically imbalanced mix of gritty guitars, haunting piano, off-kilter synths, hip-hop production, cinematic vision, and beautifully possessed vocals transformed them into a phenomenon beloved by a diehard global fanbase known as “MCID” [My Crew Is Dope].
After grinding it out as an underground curiosity, they scraped a path to mainstream infamousness with their 2015 full-length debut, Mister Asylum. It earned a GRAMMY® Award nomination in the category of “Best Rock Album” as the single “Lydia” received a nomination for “Best Rock Song” was certified gold by the RIAA. The 2016 follow-up The Boy Who Died Wolf roared to life with the gold-selling “My Name Is Human,” which catapulted to #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart and garnered a GRAMMY® Nomination for “Best Rock Song.” 2019’s MCID affirmed them as the rare outfit who could collaborate with Young Thug and Gojira on the same album. Loudwire hailed the latter among the “50 Best Rock Albums of 2019.” With hundreds of millions of streams and sold out shows on multiple continents, Highly Suspect charge ahead of the pack again on 2022’s The Midnight Demon Club with no compromises and no apologies as they challenge rock to be dangerous and maybe even life-changing again.