Ages and Ages – “Light Goes Out” (Partisan)
Listen Now: “Light Goes Out”
GOING FOR AAA ADDS
Ages and Ages are back with a special radio version of lead track from Divisionary, “Light Goes Out!” Look for them on their nationwide tour — including dates with Lake Street Dive and at the CMJ Music Marathon — this fall!
“Full-throated choral pop” – Rolling Stone
“THE singalong of 2014!” – Esquire
“Filled with so much hope… it could actually change your life – or at least how you’re feeling at the moment.” – NPR
“One of this year’s best all-around albums” – Paste Magazine (9 out of 10)
Ages and Ages is more than a band. It’s a collective of like-minded souls that believe in the power of music to change the world and elevate the spirit. Their music is bright and uplifting, with lyrics, penned by bandleader Tim Perry, that deliver serious introspective messages full of insight and consideration for others.
“When we made this album, we wanted a word to describe how we felt and what we were going through as individuals and a band,” Perry says, “so we made one up. Divisionary signifies a group whose vision of ‘right’ is upsetting to the existing power structure. It includes a philosophical, spiritual, and physical ‘breaking off’ from the status quo. It also references the individual inner conflicts that arise as you struggle to make the right choices in life. Visionaries don’t always create conflict, but they challenge the establishment with new ideas and with the threat of change. Where there is change, there is usually resistance, controversy, division.
“The songs on our first album, Alright You Restless, described a group of people leaving a selfish, destructive society for a place safe from the madness. That was like starting a band, wanting to establish new rules and a language to put some distance between themselves and the noise outside. Those songs were optimistic, energetic and self-righteous because that’s how a group of people who broke off from society would feel. As the group faces the struggles of actually making their community work, reality sets in and things get more complicated. Divisionary details the second phase of the journey.”
Divisionary evolved over months of experimentation at Portland’s Jackpot Studios with veteran producer Tony Lash (Elliott Smith, The Dandy Warhols, Eric Matthews), as well as the home studio of Ages bass player Rob Oberdorfer. During the process, the band suffered the loss of a number of close family members and dear friends, so the songs became a kind of road map for anyone attempting to avoid darkness, without becoming consumed by anger in the face of life’s difficulties. “There were also great things happening,” Perry adds. “One of us had a child, another got married. Life was tipping both ends of the scale; there were a lot of changes going on.”
Perry spent ten days on a silent meditation retreat, formulating the direction of Divisonary, and his calm, centered vision is at the core of the music. The intricate harmonies, celebratory choral vocals, churchical piano and organ, inventive counter melodies, bright acoustic guitars, and exciting, interlocking rhythms set off aural fireworks to frame the grounded emotions conveyed in the lyrics.
The title track, “Divisonary (Do The Right Thing),” is a secular gospel song with inspirational harmonies, sanctified piano and smooth violin adding muscle to a simple refrain: “Do the right thing, do the right thing… don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering.”
The harmonies and intricate instrumental interplay on Divisionary are carefully crafted, but never sound forced, with complex arrangements that are naturalistic, invigorating and free. The clash between the band’s stirring folkadelic sounds and emotionally thorny subject matter makes for a bracing listen, “as if the internal conflict is happening in real time,” Perry says.
“Ultimately I think the band all feels hopeful and blessed,” Perry concludes. “These songs reflect that optimism, but they don’t do so lightly or try to dodge the struggles we’re dealing with individually and as a band. It was an exceptionally long, hard road this time around but in the end, we’re all really proud and excited to share this record.”
Focus Track: 1
Field Report – Marigolden (Partisan)
Listen Now: “Home (Leave The Lights On)”
GOING FOR AAA AND TOP 200 ADDS
“Meticulous… gorgeous” – NPR
“Marigolden is the sort of step forward every band hopes to achieve on their second record.” – Stereogum
“A big step up for Porterfield, wedding introspective lyrics to beatific swirls of acoustic guitar strums and otherworldly synth washes” – Grantland
“[Field Report’s] sophomore release more than satisfies the longing we had for more music after being so thoroughly blown away by their 2012 self-titled debut… the musical maturity is stunning.” – Bruce Warren, WXPN
“The body remembers what the mind forgets,” Chris Porterfield reminisces on his acclaimed band Field Report sophomore record, Marigolden. The record is strewn with references to the inevitable tolls taken by the passage of time, and prolonged distance from home and loved ones.
The past couple of years have flashed by for Porterfield, who was thrust into the spotlight after years of musical reclusion. His Milwaukee-based band, Field Report (an anagram of his surname), was culled together in the studio while recording their 2012 self-titled debut. They suddenly found themselves championed by their former idols: offered support tours by Counting Crows and Aimee Mann, lauded by the likes of Mark Eitzel and Richard Thompson, and covered by Blind Boys Of Alabama.
The band honed itself from a septet to a quartet in the year that followed, focusing its sound and tightening the screws. With a heavy batch of songs under their arms, they retreated to snowy Ontario in December 2013 to record their sophomore album, Marigolden, with the help of producer Robbie Lackritz (Feist).
Spending two years roaming around the country playing tiny venues and sold-out amphitheaters alike, Porterfield was uncertain whether he was leading the charge toward an artistic epiphany or headed down a misguided path of self-destruction. Marigolden reflects this, as he ruminates across homesick tension and an un-grounded anxiety. But rather than wallow in melancholy, Porterfield finds solace and inspiration through his songs, which reveal themselves as uplifting and celebratory. The album is brighter than their 2012 debut, but somehow remains just as elegantly ominous.
Marigolden’s second track, the surprisingly catchy radio single “Home,” finds Porterfield on the road, hoping the home, wife, dog, and life he left behind in Milwaukee will still be there upon his return. “Leave the lights on,” he asks, “it might be nighttime when I get there, but I’m on my way home.” While the song contemplates lonesomeness, there is an undeniable sense of hope driving it. In “Summons,” the penultimate track, he recalls this thought, repeating, “I’ll be coming home to you” like a mantra. This sense of balance and symmetry across the album helps provide stability to the otherwise volatile themes. Case in point: the album starts with a sunrise in “Decision Day” and ends full circle with another in “Enchantment.”
Whether reconsidering sobriety in “Pale Rider,” sticking to tonic water in the bars of “Summons,” or cashing in a 30-day chip for a kiss in “Enchantment,” Porterfield’s relationship with alcohol runs through the current of nearly every song. Most notably in “Ambrosia,” where he find himself face to face with the reality of where his drinking is destined to lead.
The album runs the musical gamut, from the Traveling Wilburys-esque pop of “Home,” to the Neil Young-inspired piano ballad “Ambrosia,” to the electronic sonic landscape of “Wings.” While the compositions express a wide range in terms of genre, they find unity in themselves within the limits of self-imposed minimalism. In the studio, the songs were stripped down to the bones and built back up using only their essential elements.
Sequestered in a seemingly never-ending Ontario blizzard, the band only broke from this musical process to add logs to the stove, with the snow and the fire providing a proper background for music so rooted in the elemental. The effect that this fundamentals-based approach achieves is universal: the sparse arrangements and common themes speak to everyone, but somehow feel tailored to each listener. The title itself reflects this, a portmanteau of two common images (marigold and golden) to create something that feels both idiosyncratic and familiar: Marigolden.
Focus Tracks: 2, 6, 7, 1
The Growlers – Chinese Fountain (Everloving)
Listen Now: “Good Advice”
GOING FOR AAA ADDS
The music of The Growlers is unmistakable.
Sure, you can hone in on some influences baked into the work of this California-bred band. Heck, even they’d cop to a few, like Ricky Nelson and The Clash. But once those same RIYL tags have been filtered through the minds and hands and voices of this five-piece, there’s simply nothing else like it.
The Growlers took the phrase “Beach Goth” as an apt descriptor of their music. Sunburned and salty, that term perfectly describes their distinctive melding of reverb heavy surf guitar and Bakersfield-style honky tonk with ‘80s post-punk.
This is especially true of Chinese Fountain, The Growlers’ fifth full-length set to be released on September 23rd via Everloving Records. The 11 songs found on it are some of the strongest that they’ve committed to tape yet; a byproduct not only of eight years in the trenches together, but finely honing their gypsy folk dirges and psychedelic sea shanties to fans at close to 150 shows each year. The connection between vocalist Brooks Nielsen and guitarist Matt Taylor (the principal songwriters of the group) has only grown deeper.
“The band played better than they’ve ever played,” says Nielsen. “We’ve got the process down now. There’s less screwing around to get the songs laid out and we weren’t waiting around for take after take. We knew it and we played without much time to spare.”
That confidence bleeds through every track on Chinese Fountain, with the band assured enough to layer in shades of many new influences: the loping ska beat of “Dull Boy” and “Going Gets Tuff,” the playful disco beat behind the title track, or the Teardrop Explodes-like agitation of “Good Advice.”
Not that the band left themselves much room to second-guess anything. The five spent about three weeks writing the tracks, and about half that time in the studio recording them. That may sound rushed, but it’s not as if you can hear any strain on the finished product; Chinese Fountain is as rock solid and watertight as anything in their still-growing discography.
There’s evolution to be heard in Chinese Fountain as well, courtesy of some of Nielsen’s most pointed and poignant lyrics to date. He takes our obsession with the online world to task on the funky title track. When he drops the bomb that obliterates that most famous of Beatles’ claims with “The internet is bigger than Jesus or John Lennon” he re-contextualizes Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message” in the same breath. He urges positivity no matter the obstacles (“Going Gets Tuff”). Too, he reveals a tattered heart to the world on tracks like “Rare Hearts” and “Love Test.”
“This is my chance to let it all out,” Nielsen says of these songs. “I kind of bottle things up and don’t really get emotional. But I think if I don’t open up, I’d be a really stale person.”
Focus Track: 5
Monica Heldal – Boy From The North (Warner Bros. Norway/ADA)
Listen Now: “Boy From The North”
GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS
Award-winning Norwegian singer/songwriter, Monica Heldal has premiered the previously unreleased track “Waiting on the Fire” via The Bluegrass Situation. “Waiting on the Fire” will also be a bonus track on the digital version of Heldal’s upcoming debut album, Boy From The North, which is available for pre-order on iTunes.
Heldal – this year’s selection for “Best New Artist” and “Best Pop Solo Artist” at the Spellemannprisen Awards (also known as the “Norwegian Grammy’s”) – has also been tapped for her first-ever shows in the US as support for The Last Bison in New York, Connecticut, and Philadelphia.
Part Americana, part Bluegrass, part Irish Folk – Heldal’s acclaimed debut album, Boy From The North, which spent 21 weeks on the Top 40 albums chart in Norway, will be arriving in the US on September 16th via ADA/Warner Music Norway. Following a sold-out Norwegian tour, as well as an opening slot for Tom Petty, Heldal quickly caught the attention of Warner Bros. executives in 2013 and was immediately signed to Warner Music Norway with major plans world-wide.
Boy From The North is the culmination of Heldal’s many musical influences – including Nick Drake, Emmylou Harris, Irish blues artist Rory Gallagher, and acoustic segments from Led Zeppelin’s portfolio – that allows the Bergen, Norway native to capture the increasingly popular Americana/Bluegrass vibes such as artists like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers.
Focus Tracks: 1, 7, 6
The Hush Now – Sparkle Drive (Self-Released)
Listen Now: “Arthur Come On, Really You Cant Be Serious”
GOING FOR TOP 200 AND MODERN ROCK SPECIALTY ADDS
Sparkle Drive was produced and recorded by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studio’s and mastered by Jeff Lipton of Peerless Mastering. The Sparkle Drive sessions yielded ten new tracks featuring all band members taking turns on lead vocals, expanding the unique approach of THN beyond their 2012 effort, Memos, which climbed into the CMJ Top 25.
Consisting of Noel Kelly, Adam Quane, Barry Marino and Pat MacDonald, Sparkle Drive showcases THN’s signature indie-dream pop. The first single, “Arthur Come On, Really You Can’t Be Serious,” features Adam Quane on lead vocals, floating above a dirge of tremolo distortion and sparkling guitar.
The Hush Now’s self-titled debut (2008), sophomore release, Constellations (2010), and Memos (2012), quickly climbed independent radio charts and drew comparisons to Guided By Voices, The Cure, and Kitchens of Distinction, among others. After successful national tours, performances at CMJ and SXSW, Sparkle Drive was recorded over the last 2 years and looks to grow THN’s sound once again while staying true to the band’s original foundation.
Focus Tracks: 1, 4, 5, 7
Mission Creep – On The Sea of Suns (Wire Records)
Listen Now: “Candy on Sunday”
GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS
Combining the talents of Gregory Damien Grinnell (member of ambient dub scientists Teledubgnosis, NYC ska- legends The Toasters and MTV’s Unity 2) and Yuri Zbitnoff of Boston’s jazz/psych powerhouse Enuma Elish, Mission Creep blends the cool grooves of mid- sixties soul-jazz with a helping of garage/ psych and mixes it all together in a DJ style blender layering live instruments over samples and electronic grooves.
The band evokes a retro jazz/rock lounge mood while spinning up-tempo dance beats with head-nodding introspective cuts. In keeping with the member’s jazz roots, guests often sit in such as Boston guitar hero Tony Savarino channeling Steve Cropper on “Lucky Dog” and avant saxophone artist Steve Norton lending his skronk to Mission Creep’s paean to 1980’s NYC funk-punk on “I’m Thinking of A Number”. Guest vocalists round out the crew with appearances by Boston performance legend Johnny Blazes and the multi-talented chanteuse Lainey Schooltree.
It’s Atom-punk Go-Go Jazz!
Focus Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 10
Kent Odessa – Physical Genius EP (Airdrop)
Listen Now: “Physical Genius”
GOING FOR RPM ADDS
Kent Odessa will release his new EP, Physical Genius, on September 16th, 2014 via Airdrop Records. The album was produced and mixed in New York City with electronic artist/re-mixer Robert Lux, and marks Odessa’s first recorded effort outside of his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. It features appearances from electro-soul singers Tecla Esposito and Pegasus Warning, as well as live drums and samples from Kool A.D. collaborator, Kassa Overall.
Physical Genius marks a departure from Odessa’s debut, self-released album Silverdome, opting for a much more crisp and candid style of production, while still continuing his exploration of modern electronica, funk, and R & B. Odessa’s humorous yet haunting lyrical sensibility has never been more on display, painting a surreal landscape of failed ambitions, jilted ex-lovers, and ultimate sexual transcendence over percussive, bass-driven, infectious pop hooks.
Each song on the EP is distinct from the next, and perfectly demonstrates Odessa’s versatility and genre-hopping capabilities. In short, Physical Genius is the ideal showcase for one of pop’s most eccentric and enigmatic personalities making music today.
Focus Tracks: 5, 2
Old 97′s – “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” (ATO)
Listen Now: “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive”
GOING FOR AAA ADDS
Old 97′s “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” from the Album Most Messed Up, available NOW. Impacting September 23rd.
“Old 97′s have never sounded stronger” – Rolling Stone
Most Messed Up on Rolling Stone’s Best Albums of 2014 So Far list
“Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” included in Rolling Stone’s Top 25 Songs of 2014 So Far
“Airtight songs celebrating life-as-sublime-train-wreck” – Rolling Stone (4 stars)
“A breathless, unrelenting… some of the Old 97′s finest and most exhilarating music” – American Songwriter (4 stars)
“Blistered, blasted, and brilliant” – New Yorker
“[Most Messed Up] shows you don’t have to be young and stupid to make great rock ‘n’ roll’” – Associated Press
09/25 – Lubbock TX – Blue Light Live
09/26 – Marfa TX – Trans-Pecos Festival
09/27 – San Antonio TX – Sunken Gardens
10/03 – Pensacola FL – Vinyl Concert Hall
10/04 – Tampa FL – State Theater
10/05 – Orlando FL – The Social
10/06 – Athens GA – 40 Watt
10/08 – Carrboro NC – Cat’s Cradle
10/09 – Charlottesville VA – Jefferson Theatre
10/10 – Greenville SC – Fall for Greenville
10/11 – Charlotte NC – Mcglohon Theater
10/12 – Charleston SC – Southern Grounds Festival
10/14 Louisville KY – Headliner’s
10/15 – Memphis TN – Hi Tone
10/16 – Tulsa OK – Cain’s
10/17 – Austin TX – Stubb’s
Focus Track: 1
Second Sky – Touching the Surface (Rhythm & Culture)
Listen Now: “Intoxicated”
GOING FOR TOP 200 AND RPM ADDS
Lush pop arrangements combine with swirling electronic soundscapes and dusty hip-hop beats on Second Sky’s sophomore effort, Touching the Surface.
Blending Soul, Pop, Electronica, and Classical Indian Music, the songs that comprise Touching the Surface are an eclectic mixture that finds focus through the band’s distinct approach to songwriting and production. Chillwavers, beatfreaks, and even the pickiest of pop connoisseurs would all feel right at home with the sound that has been describes as a “Millennial Beatles”.
With thick layers of instrumentation fronted by Billy Medina’s gentle vocals and introspective lyrics, the sound calls to mind Washed Out if they had been produced by Sir George Martin. While the Dub and Trip-Hop influences that dominated the band’s debut album remain, Second Sky has embraced elements such as harmony, and dynamics on their newest effort with noticeable gusto.
Band members Bill Lascek-Speakman, Wes DiIorio and Billy Medina enlisted several collaborators to complete their sonic vision. Sitarist John Protopapas and vocalist Tina M contribute their talents to Free and Free Pt. 2 (Pyar Ki Rogan), supplying high-caliber musicianship and authenticity to the Indian-inspired tracks. Others that feature the band’s horn section of Darnell Scott, Todd Fulginiti, and Alex Banias harken back to Motown. If you’re looking to dance, track #6, “Make it Right”, finds the band dabbling in Nu Disco territory, while “Voices” settles into a Bossa Nova rhythm. With “A Long Way To Go”, the band elects to skip the usual subtlety of their Jamaican influences, and go straight for Reggae.
In all, the ten songs that make up Touching the Surface are self-contained episodes that make up a more complete journey when experienced together as a whole. Headphones recommended.
Top 200 Focus Tracks: 1, 2, 5, 7, 10 // RPM Focus Tracks: 3, 4
ADDS for 9.16.2014
Ane Brun & Linnea Olsson – “Halo” (Balloon Ranger)
Listen Now: “Halo”
GOING FOR AAA ADDS
Ane Brun and Linnea Olsson’s interpretation of Beyonce’s “Halo” is featured in the movie If I Stay starring Chloë Grace Moretz. The song was first released last year on Ane Brun’s album Rarities and are now also featured on the If I Stay soundtrack out now on WaterTower Music. Ane Brun about her version of “Halo”:
“When I toured in 2009 with The Diamonds (me and three female voices) promoting the Sketches album, we made it a tradition to play ‘Halo’ on the mini stereo backstage while putting on our make up, warming up as we tried to sing along with Beyoncé on this beautiful melody. One day I decided to try and make my own version, mainly as an experiment and for fun, but thanks to Linnea Olsson it became this beautiful mellow interpretation.”
Focus Track: 1
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour – Bring Us Together (Hot Bus/Rough Trade)
Listen Now: “My Club”
GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS
Danish pop powerhouse The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, consisting of Lars Iversen & Mette Lindberg, have recently announced the release of their highly anticipated third studio album, Bring Us Together- set to drop September 16th via Hot Bus/Rough Trade! Having won audiences across the world over with their unique brand of deliciously fun & edgy pop, the Copenhagen duo will deliver eager fans & new listeners alike ten tracks of pure audio bliss.
Bring Us Together first single “My Club” is an instantly catchy pop masterpiece with a psychedelic vibe punctuated by pulsing club beats. Biting lyrics like “tonight, I’ll be the bullet in your gun” are laid atop smooth, melodic horn samples & killer percussion.
Heavily inspired by the two years of non-stop promotional & touring madness (and subsequent sense of isolation) following their previous album, Bring Us Together finds the duo’s desire to explore new musical avenues greater than ever before. As Iversen elaborates,“We wanted to create a heavier and slightly darker atmosphere for this album. The sound is more processed, and less “manual” than before- with more weighting on repetitive beats, bass grooves, chopped-up loops, and a more laidback vocal style.” The result is a sound collage & pop symphony created from equal parts of chopped-up danceable beats, spaced-out synths & bright neon green pop hooks.
Immersed within the Copenhagen music scene, producer & multi-instrumentalist Iversen met Lindberg in 2007. The two would go on to record a debut EP (Around The Bend) & two studio albums, 2009’s Fruit & 2012’s follow-up Out of Frequency. They’ve quickly become one of Denmark’s most prominent musical success stories, selling out venues around the globe & acquiring fans worldwide in the process.
Focus Tracks: 3, 2, 4, 6, 7
The Dead Lovers – Supernormal Superstar (Randm Records)
Listen Now: “59 Yards”
GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS
The Dead Lovers are a small collective of Berlin-based musicians fronted by Lula and Wayne Jackson.
Wayne’s first band The Dostoyevskys achieved cult status in the mid 90′s with their enigmatic live shows, before they split and he released two solo albums and he co-wrote and sang “The Other Side” with Paul Van Dyk which was a global hit. In between he found time to co-produce Bela B.’s first two solo albums and played in Bela’s live band Los Helmstedt.
Lula’s track record is no less impressive or varied; featuring stints as a singer, a songwriter, a photographer and more recently a TV presenter. It was unavoidable that sooner or later they would sling their creative hooks together.
The Dead Lovers continue the tradition of legendary musical raconteurs like Lee Hazlewood; and not just because they actually produced a song with the great man and not just because Lula was the last person to sing a duet with him shortly before his untimely death.
In 2013, they followed their love of vintage sounds to its natural conclusion and relocated to the incredible Lost Ark Studio in San Diego where they recorded their debut album together. For several weeks they immersed themselves in this amazingly creative environment; using a huge stack of freakishly rare and cool amps, guitars and effects from the 50′s and 60′s. You can taste these classic flavors in their debut album Supernormal Superstar, out now on Rough Trade / Spy Satellite in Europe. With their mixture of glam rock beats, seductive fuzz guitar riffs and infectious melodies; their songs unwind like some kind of fresh antidote to rampant “talent show” commercialism.
Despite their highgrade retro Americana sounds, The Dead Lovers do not hail from the land of the free. Wayne is a lifelong Manchester City fan, born a short distance from their stadium and Lula is a Bavarian girl from the mountains.
Focus Tracks: 1, 3, 6, 10
Sallie Ford – “Coulda Been” (Vanguard)
Listen Now: “Coulda Been”
GOING FOR AAA ADDS
Sallie Ford’s upcoming album Slap Back will be available on October 14th. Produced by Chris Funk (Decemberists, Red Fang), Slap Back features a collection of songs full of “simple lyrics about raw emotions,” Ford says, played with the urgency exemplified in the fuzzed-out, missed-love-by-just-that-much lead single, “Coulda Been.” Ford calls Slap Back an “ode to all the babe rockers” from Pat Benetar and PJ Harvey to Xene Cervenka, Joan Jett and Heart.
Sallie Ford grew up playing music in Asheville, NC. In 2006, she moved to Portland, OR where she met her band “The Sound Outside.” Together, they released three albums and an EP but parted ways in 2013. Ford has garnered critical acclaim from NPR, “With a powerhouse voice, the Portland transplant is a mix of Cat Power and Ella Fitzgerald,” USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Interview, Nylon, BUST, Paste, to name a few and performed on The Late Show with David Letterman.
Sallie Ford has announced new tour dates for her headlining fall tour beginning November 2nd in Missoula, MT with stops in Chicago (11/6), Toronto (11/8), Montreal (11/09), Brooklyn (11/14) and Washington, DC (11/16). The tour will feature Sallie’s all new band – Anita Lee Elliot (Viva Voce & Blue Giant) on bass, Amanda Spring (Point Juncture, WA) on drums & Cristina Cano (Albatross & Siren & the Sea) on keyboards. See full list of dates below.
2014 Fall Tour
* with Crooked Fingers
** with Crooked Fingers & And The Kids
2014-10-10 Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge
2014-10-11 Spokane, WA – The Barlett w/ Summer Cannibals
2014-11-02 Missoula, MT – The Palace*
2014-11-05 St. Paul, MN – Turf Club*
2014-11-06 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle*
2014-11-07 Grand Rapids, MI – Pyramid Scheme*
2014-11-08 Toronto, ON – The Great Hall*
2014-11-09 Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa**
2014-11-11 Northampton, MA – The Parlor Room*
2014-11-12 Allston, MA – Great Scott**
2014-11-14 Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade**
2014-11-15 Philadelphia, PA – Milkboy**
2014-11-16 Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel**
2014-11-18 Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle**
2014-11-19 Nashville, TN – Exit/In**
2014-11-20 St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway**
2014-11-21 Kansas City, MO – Record Bar**
2014-11-23 Denver, CO – Larimer Lounge*
2014-11-24 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
2014-11-25 Boise, ID – Neurolux
Focus Track: 1
High Ends – Super Class (Dine Alone Records)
Listen Now: “Intoxicated”
GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS
” …more akin to American weirdos of various unseemliness from Ariel Pink to Jim James, tapping into a bygone era of retro-futurism and resulting in something so out-of-time that it sounds timeless.” – Pitchfork
“… a futuristic, psychedelic rock track that has put us in a trance.” – Refinery29
“ …a weightlessness that’s easy to fall in love with.” – KUT
” …retro-futuristic sound that’s hard to pin down but easy to enjoy — similar in spirit to fellow Vancouver resident Dan Bejar’s Destroyer.” – Stereogum
In the second half of 2013, following years of near-constant touring as the front-man of the critically acclaimed BC outfit Yukon Blonde, Jeffrey Innes suddenly found himself in possession of an unfamiliar commodity: free time. With Yukon Blonde on a temporary break between albums, Innes was back at home in Vancouver, but rather than spending his downtime relaxing, he launched the solo project High Ends as an adventurous new songwriting outlet.
“I initially wanted to do something that was really collaborative, so I wrote a bunch of songs with the idea of bringing friends in,” Innes remembers. “But all of my friends were on tour, so I ended up doing it myself.
This prompted a feverishly creative burst of unfiltered solo experimentation, with most of the material written quickly using an array of analogue synthesizers.
The resulting debut full-length album will be released October 7th via Dine Alone Records.
The ten-song LP was recorded with producer Colin Stewart (Dan Mangan, The New Pornographers) at his Vancouver Island facility. During the sessions, Gold & Youth drummer Jeff Mitchelmore handled percussion, Louise Burns and The New Pornographers’ Kathryn Calder contributed backing vocals, and Ladyhawk’s Darcy Hancock laid down guitar.
Focus Tracks: 3, 4, 1, 6, 2
Hurray For The Riff Raff – “The Body Electric” (ATO)
Listen Now: “The Body Electric”
GOING FOR AAA ADDS
AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION NOMINEE EMERGING ARTIST OF THE YEAR FOR 2014
“THE BODY ELECTRIC” NAMED ONE OF THE BEST SONGS OF THE YEAR BY SPIN
“One of the best albums of 2014” – Rolling Stone, Paste, Slate, Spin, Esquire, CMT, and NPR
“I love [The Body Electric]. This is my cup of tea – an excellent, folky murder ballad. It’s spooky and dark, and I love her voice.” – TOM MORELLO, Rolling Stone
“The Body Electric” is a riot grrrl-inspired confrontation…” – NPR
“The Body Electric” by @HFTRR is a gorgeous, important & timely song…” – NATIONAL POST
“Segarra’s supple, intimate vocals are about more than conjuring a musical past – she clearly wants to shape the future, too”- ROLLING STONE
“…the most poetic anti-gunop-ed you’re likely to come across all year.” – Best Songs of 2014, SPIN
“Segarra laments our fascination with such abject subject matter” – PITCHFORK
Focus Track: 1
Elizabeth Shepherd – The Signal (Linus Entertainment)
Listen Now: “Whats Happening”
GOING FOR AAA AND TOP 200 ADDS
Over four critically–acclaimed albums, Elizabeth Shepherd has created a body of work that has resonated around the world. Credited as one of the young forces pushing the boundaries of jazz — along with Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper and Jose James — she is seen as part of a wave of jazz musicians bringing the art form to a new generation of music fans.
With The Signal, Shepherd displays uncompromising songwriting and bold musical exploration. Highlights include her collaborations with Lionel Loueke (Herbie Hancock, Angelique Kidjo) — one of the most celebrated guitarists of his generation. The subject matter for the songs covers topics as wide–ranging as Monsanto and motherhood, witchcraft and war.
Shepherd manages to make her odd-meter grooves feel fluid and funky, while her sensual, breathy voice is as direct and haunting as ever. Warm and fuzzy or cool and sparkling, Shepherd’s electric Rhodes piano anchors the sound of The Signal, and her love of soul, funk, and old-school hip-hop shines through in the beats that propel many of tracks. An adventurous producer, the 3-time JUNO nominee (Canada’s GRAMMY equivalent) successfully incorporates rumbling Moog keyboard, ngoni, steel pans and kalimba as well as a range of samples that include blues legend Lead Belly and Mother Teresa.
Focus Tracks: 2, 1, 10
Silva – Ocean View (Six Degrees)
Listen Now: “January”
GOING FOR TOP 200 AND WORLD ADDS
Not every artist can say they’ve created a new genre, particularly coming from a place as musically rich as Brazil. But Silva, a rapidly rising young multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, is staking a claim as the originator of “Brazilian dream pop.”
With his sophomore album, Ocean View (Six Degrees Records, 2014), Silva is building on his rocketing success in his native country and in Portugal. His “delicious pop melodies” (Rolling Stone Brazil) thrill crowds who know his lyrics by heart and sing along at major music festivals such as Lollapalooza Brazil and Rock in Rio. Singing in English and Portuguese, he has shared the same stage with artists including The xx and Lana Del Rey and is poised to win over new fans with his unique blend of catchy electronic pop built on a Brazilian foundation.
“I love dream pop and ambient,” Silva says, “and I try to mix it in my music.” The breezy atmosphere of Ocean View is also quite intentional, he says. “I was very near to my grandfather, and he was very important to me. When I was doing my first album, he passed away, and it was very sad for me. And I think it influenced the whole thing. In the second album, I was wanting to do something more happy. I wanted to make something more smooth, more tropical.”
But while Silva builds on Brazilian roots, he doesn’t fit into established categories. He hesitates a bit at being called by some “the new voice of Música Popular Brasileira.” “MPB used to be a definition of a music style, having something to do with bossa nova, samba and new bossa nova. But now I don’t know how to define it. Something has been lost in MPB, I think, and I’m trying to expand upon it in my music. My goal is to not just make music for Brazil. With the Internet, you can make music for anyone and play everywhere! That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Both his path to success and his musical makeup make SILVA the very model of a global musician. Despite hailing from the musical powerhouse of Brazil and coming from a musical family (his mother is a music teacher, his uncle is a pianist), it took a year in Ireland for SILVA to find his musical voice. While in Dublin in 2009, he was part of a multinational jazz-blues busking band called Captain Magic.
The Janeiro EP (August 12), featuring the English-language version of the song, offers a taste of the full-length album, and includes remixes by Cosmic Kids, Teen Daze and Marbeya Sound.
Ocean View does have its melancholy moments, as on the song “Okinawa,” which features vocals by singer Fernanda Takai (lead vocalist of the Brazilian rock band Pato Fu). “It makes sense for me to have a Japanese-Brazilian singer for this song talking about distance and the feeling of being far away from the person you like,” SILVA says.
With the fresh appeal of Ocean View, SILVA is poised to expand the very concept of what Brazilian music sounds like, and to win new fans worldwide with his “Brazilian dream pop.”
“Even if they don’t understand Portuguese, I think people can understand the music that I’m trying to show them. I’m very happy that my music is going to other places. I never expected that. I’m happy with the things that are happening now, and I hope that I can do it forever.”
Focus Tracks: 2, 3, 8, 13
Various Artists – Psychedelic Planet (Six Degrees)
Listen Now: Cheb i Sabbah – “Alkher Illa Doffor” (Bassnectar Remix)
GOING FOR WORLD AND RPM ADDS
Since its inception in 1996, Six Degrees Records has continuously explored the fascinating place where diverse global sounds meet electronic music. Electronica is a world filled with a dizzying amount of sub-genres — one in which styles and trends can rise and fall, seemingly in the blink of an eye.
On Psychedelic Planet, its latest compilation, Six Degrees documents an ever-growing community of artists and producers that mix the sounds of “Psy Dub” (Psychedelic Dub), “Glitch,” “Ambient Dub” and “Sacred Bass” with musical traditions from around the world. Over the last few years, these fusions have elevated dance floors across the planet and have prominently featured at festivals like Burning Man, Beloved, Enchanted Forest, Sonic Bloom and many more.
Featuring an A-list cast of artists and remixers, including Cheb i Sabbah, Bassnectar, Karsh Kale, Kaminanda, Vieux Farka Touré and Liquid Stranger, Psychedelic Planet features 11 tracks (6 previously un-released) that point to exciting new possibilities for the future of globetronica.
The compilation features previously unreleased tracks from Jef Stott, Karsha Kale, Meklit, Pacifika, Vieux Farka Toure, and Warren Cuccurullo & Ustlad Sultan Khan.
RPM Focus Tracks: 1, 6, 5 // World Focus Tracks: 2, 9, 10, 11
ADDS for 9.9.2014
Brooklyn Shanti – Bedstuyle (Someplace Called Brooklyn)
Listen Now: “This Feeling” (ft. Jahdan Blakkamoore and Thornato)
GOING FOR TOP 200, RPM AND HIP HOP ADDS
Brooklyn Shanti is widely regarded as an accomplished producer, emcee, and pioneer of Global/Tropical Bass/Dancehall fusion, and is hip-hop’s official cultural ambassador to India.
Dubbed by Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation as the Indian Bambaataa, over the last decade, Brooklyn Shanti’s unique and innovative artistic voice has enabled the transformation of South Asia’s appreciation for hip-hop. His diverse and wide-ranging talents have led him to work with some of the world’s leading artists including Bollywood legends A.R. Rahman and Sohail Sen, electronic gurus Karsh Kale and the Midival Punditz, the Dum Dum Project, as well as Billy Martin (Medeski, Martin and Wood), Afrika Bambaataa, Thomas Blondet, and the Foreign Beggars, among many others. This spirit of collaboration defines and informs Brooklyn Shanti’s larger vision as an artist and a musician. Of note is a project that came out on the infamous Rawkus Records and his involvement with Brooklyn’s vibrant Dutty Artz collective which has cultivated a Latin/South Asian collaboration with DJ/producer, Geko Jones. He is also currently working on an album with Afrika Bambaataa and Karsh Kale for the South Asian market, with Camp Lo on a Bengal vs Bronx fusion project, and he has enlisted Cumba Mela’s Thornato to work on a Bengali dancehall album. Shanti has also written and released a song based on author Vikram Chandra’s stories, which Chandra has publicly stated that he wants played at his funeral. Shanti is also in the process of putting together a band with Karsh Kale to tour his current album, Bedstuyle.
Bedstuyle is Shanti’s most recent album (out 9/9/14). Ambitious, gorgeous, and pulsating with range and verve, it is as much a travelogue of human emotion as it is an undeniable head-bobbing and foot-tapping musical experience. The title is a play on words derived from his neighborhood in Brooklyn, Bedstuy. Of Bedstuy’s influence, Shanti states, “This album is a reflection of Bedstuy’s past hip-hop heritage ranging from Biggie to Mos Def, its current incarnation as a hybrid space, and its future pulse electronically.”
From loneliness to longing, love to civic responsibility, Bedstuyle dreams big and pulls no punches. “Midnight in Paris,” the stirring and quietly powerful first track, prepares us to find ourselves in all manner of contexts, both geographical and emotional. Its slow build to crescendo is enchantingly layered with choral voices and rich beats, and segues pitch-perfectly into the sultry depths of Bollywood starlet Evelyn Sharma’s debut, “Something Beautiful,” an electric ballad balanced by glimpses of Shanti’s own voice.
One would be mistaken in thinking, however, that Brooklyn Shanti is all intense profundity. The tracks “This Feeling,” featuring the Reggae vocal styling of Jahdan Blakkamoore and fellow Cumba Mela co-founder Thornato, as well as “She,” which features Brooklyn Shanti’s own unique voice, are playful and summery promises of an album that is as willing to have as much fun as it is thoughtful. Such exuberance balances perfectly against nakedly melancholy tracks such as “Let It,” featuring Karsh Kale and the Midival Punditz, and “Intervention.” Shanti’s impressive range also extends to the more meditative and spiritually minded “Sun Salutation,” featuring the elegant Spanish vocals of Vanessa Beatriz and “The Rain,” a dreamy track marked by Dani Mari’s astounding voice and stirring orchestral instrumentation.
Bedstuyle is also characterized by a sense of global and emotional awareness. Tracks such as “Garden of Ghosts,” for example, featuring Dani Mari, was written during a moment of phoenix and represents the reluctance to move on from life’s transitional states. It moves seamlessly between Mari’s haunting and ethereal vocals and a more electronic beat, in contrast to the purely acoustic track “33 1/3,” which looks beyond the West to the realities of poverty and pain elsewhere in the world as it maintains its sense of the difficulties of personal life. It’s also an artist’s anthem, one that adamantly insists that the act of music making is essential to living. As Shanti insists, naming himself, “Nabin will never die/I’ll remain alive/through the energy in these sounds.”
The energy in the sounds of Bedstuyle showcase Brooklyn Shanti’s spectacular range as a singer/songwriter, emcee, and producer, as well as an impressive curatorial ear in assembling a supporting cast of guests who help the album be more soundtrack than a loose collection of songs without correlation. His mastery over human emotion and daring rings clear and true in every moment of every song. A thought provoking and consuming musical experience, Bedstuyle is a delight, and singles out Brooklyn Shanti as one of music’s most fierce and necessary talents.
Top 200 Focus Tracks: 1, 3, 8 // RPM Focus Tracks: 3, 5, 6, 11 // Hip Hop Focus Tracks: 3, 4, 10
Katie Burden – My Blind Eye EP (Cautionary Tail)
Listen Now: “Man”
GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS
Originating from Colorado, Katie Burden escaped the bubble of New School in NYC and San Francisco to satiate her expressionist musical influences in music that range from PJ Harvey to Bat for Lashes. Now located in Los Angeles she began working with producer / drummer Norm Block (Mark Lanegan, Sweethead, Plexi) and guitarist Jen Turner (Here We Go Magic, Exclamation Pony). This lineup would eventually form the band to record her debut EP, My Blind Eye, as well as Soundgarden bassist, Ben Shepherd, who played guitar on the title track. The debut EP will be released September 9 on, Cautionary Tail Records (MANIMAL Group).
Focus Tracks: 1, 3, 5
Elephant Stone – The Three Poisons (Hidden Pony)
Listen Now: “Knock You From Your Mountain” (Radio Edit)
GOING FOR AAA ADDS
Elephant Stone and Hidden Pony Records are thrilled to announce a new album titled Three Poisons. NPR’s All Songs Considered shared the title track to Three Poisons earlier this year, and connected the dots between “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “Three Poisons.”
Elephant Stone’s Rishi Dhir tells the story of Three Poisons…”
“…the band is in deep, working on the follow-up to our self-titled 2013 release. I don’t think it was just me, but things felt different this time around. The grooves were groovier, the sonics rumbled heavier, and the songs were connecting to something bigger. It wasn’t until Malika Tirolien came in to record her inspired backing vocals for “Knock You From Your Mountain” and “All Is Burning” that I reflected on that abandoned record collection I inherited and the trip it took me on. In that moment I heard the groove of the Mondays, the darkness of Echo, the jangle of Ride… but what I truly heard and felt coming together in these new batch of songs was—and is—unequivocally the sound of Elephant Stone.”
Focus Tracks: 12
Ephemerals – Life Is Good Remixes (Jalapeno Records)
Listen Now: “Life Is Good” (Technimatic Remix)
GOING FOR RPM ADDS
Fresh out of London comes one of the hottest soul sensations you’ll hear all year. Meet Ephemerals, whose debut LP Nothin Is Easy was released via Jalapeno Records on June 23rd.
Fans of the Daptone sound will immediately be drawn to Ephemerals, whose LP is a tastefully timeless soul record, taking inspirations from music greats such as James Brown, Syl Johnson and OV Wright and Charles Bradley.
Joined by Franglo-American singer Wolf, originally from New York but who has been living in Paris since the age of 14, Ephemerals deliver a debut album that is fresh and soulful and will command some serious attention. Wolf only began singing in public three years ago, but has quickly established himself as a continental star with his band Marvellous, who supported Hannah Williams and the Tastemakers on a tour date.
Hillman Mondegreen, writer-producer and founder member for Hannah Williams and The Tastemakers, was on a quest to find the singer for his next project when their tour passed through France. Wolfgang Valbrun was singing for the group that was supporting the Tastemakers, and Hillman felt instantly that the New Yorker was the perfect voice.
Soon afterwards, Hillman made the decision to leave Hannah Williams & the Tastemakers to pursue a new musical project, and the first person he called up to sing in his new band, Ephemerals, was Wolf, who he knew was the man for the job.
Wolf learned the songs via grainy acoustic mp3s that Hillman was sending from London, and within a few months, a six-piece backing band of trusted soul musicians were about to create an album. Valbrun arrived in Soho the day before recording and the dynamic partnership was realised for the first time in Hillman’s apartment. In the same way, the musicians who turned up at the studio had barely even heard their parts or seen them written. Some were meeting each other for the first time, and the first full band rehearsal was on the first day of the recording.
Hillman taught the band song by song, and within three scorching days — thanks to a broken air conditioning unit during the July heatwave — the seven-piece had recorded the album live to analogue tape at The Cowshed in North London, and Wolf was on his way back to France. The strings and backing vocals were added in Winchester and Nothin Is Easy was complete.
Focus Tracks: 2, 3
Gringo Star – “Long Time Gone” b/w “World Of Spin” (Dizzybird)
Listen Now: “Long Time Gone”
GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS
A long-running collaboration between brothers Pete and Nick Furgiuele, Gringo Star has worked previously with producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarls Barkley, Deerhunter), but for this new single—just as with acclaimed 2013 LP, Floating Out to See—the band took the DIY route, recording in Pete’s basement home studio. Only this time, they went one further, handling every single instrument and vocal themselves. In typical, egalitarian Gringo Star fashion, Nick sings lead on A-side “Long Time Gone,” while Pete handles vox on B-side “World of Spin.”
The 7-inch single—along with a 10-inch from Gringo Star amigos, Heaters—will be the debut release from the new Grand Rapids, Mich.-based dizzybird records. “Working with Gringo Star has been on my mind since I met them at CMJ a few years ago,” says Brian Hoekstra, who co-founded the label with Nicole LaRue of Grand Rapids rock club The Pyramid Scheme. “Gringo Star has a unique, adventurous psychedelic rock & roll sound that’s infectious and timeless—these two sides could’ve come out at any point in the last 50 years. And now that dizzybird is releasing this 7-inch, we all get to dream together. Put out what you love, right? Seems like a good business model.”
The new Gringo Star single will be released digitally through all major online retailers, and will be available on vinyl at select record stores, the band’s shows and the dizzybird records website.
Gringo Star has also just announced a 25-date run of dates through October and November, as well as a one-off at anticipated garage/psych fest Meltasia on Sept. 6.
Focus Tracks: All
Sondre Lerche – Please (Mona)
Listen Now: “Bad Law”
GOING FOR TOP 200 AND MODERN ROCK SPECIALTY ADDS
“… Despite the mounds of grief he’s processing through the LP, the emotional trauma has helped sharpen Lerche’s instincts as a songwriter and performer.” – Consequence of Sound
“… A bouncy reverie on broken love which, in his trademark style, occasionally combusts into neat stretches of total disarray.” – SPIN on “Bad Law”
“Bad Law” establishes Lerche’s vocal vulnerability and struggle with control, but also establishes another theme that runs throughout the record: the darkness that rises when love and law collide, building to the musing, “When crimes are passionate, can love be separate?” Sondre says of “Bad Law”: “Bad Law came charged with this urge to play a simple song that would allow people (and myself, I suppose) to ventilate anger and frustration, to get happy, dance like idiots and ultimately feel a little better, despite everything going to shit. I hope people lose it to this song.”
An artist’s capability to transform suffering into great work is one of humanity’s great phenomena. When considering the “divorce” subcategory of suffering and the “music” subcategory of art, the manifestation has traditionally tended toward the dirge (e.g. Dylan’s “Blood On The Tracks,” Mitchell’s “Blue). Please, Sondre Lerche’s stunning new album, however, is a different animal: despite aligning with a recent divorce from his wife of eight years, it is brimming with crisp electronic flourishes, bold, economic production, and an infectious new energy and sense of purpose.
The juxtaposition of romantic idealism and the chaotic struggle to live up to said ideals is meticulously explored: for the first time in his career, Lerche is presented unraveled. The moans and wails are unedited, and the cutting room floor is clean. Lerche has always written about love, but never in such a primal, sexual way. His well-proven melodic instincts are sharper than ever, but he’s moved from the brain to the body, from the soulful to the physical.
Lerche has been incredibly busy since the release of his 2011 self-titled LP and his 2012 live album, Bootlegs. Aside from touring internationally and releasing his 2013 Scott Walker-cover “The Plague” and “Public Hi-Fi Sessions”, a collaboration with Spoon’s Jim Eno, Lerche spent 2013 creating the celebrated score for his then-wife’s (Mona Fastvold) directorial debut and Sundance hit The Sleepwalker.
Focus Tracks: 1, 3, 5, 6
FCC: 4, 10
Love Inks – Exi (Republic of Music)
Listen Now: “Shoot 100 Panes of Glass”
GOING FOR TOP 200 AND MODERN ROCK SPECIALTY ADDS
“Austin trio Love Inks [specialize] in a near unique type of minimal noir. Recalling the likes of The xx at their most basic, or even Rough Trade legends Young Marble Giants, the band’s output – just one studio album to date – is precocious, enticing … The fragile arrangement [of “Shoot 100 Panes of Glass”] wraps itself around a motorik inspired groove, with the lyrics delving into a painful break up. It’s oddly anthemic, too – but imagine a crowd singing ‘give me a break, give me your lungs hollowed out…’” – Clash
Love inks is a minimalist pop group making music that harkens back to early 80s UK (Marine Girls, Young Marble Giants) and David Lynch’s Roadhouse.
The group’s sleek, needleprecise sound comes distinctly from Austin, Texas.
It is a combination of guitar, played quietly but as if from a 12 foot deep well, and bass, creating both tension and melodic release when necessary, in conjunction with an electronic drum machine.
Although, the triangle is only completed by Sherry LeBlanc’s voice, which leads the listener through every song whether it be mellow or dark. These three elements together make up Love Inks.
Their use of silence and their approach to instrumentation, while sometimes coming across as confrontational, makes their music direct and sincere.
Focus Tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6
Nelo – Nelo (We Are Young Giant)
Listen Now: “Hometown”
GOING FOR AAA AND TOP 200 ADDS
In today’s pop culture world, in which music “idols” are auditioned, judged, anointed and frequently forgotten within the span of a few months while even “underground” acts can stir up buzz overnight on the blogosphere, the notion of a band building an audience by actually working its tail off seems positively antiquated. So go ahea and call Austin’s Nelo (rhymes with “hello”) just a little bit old-fashioned.
Long before Nelo released their 2nd album, Ordinary Scene, songwriter / bandleader Matt Ragland and the rest of his crew were already seasoned road veterans accustomed to playing to packed crowds across Texas and throughout the South.
Nelo formed officially in late 2005 after Matt Ragland and Reid Umstattd, who were college roommates, graduated from the University of Texas. After formation, the band spent not quite a couple years in Athens, GA and then moved back home to Austin, TX to start recording and touring. Picking up new fans one by one along the way, Nelo has shown that the grassroots approach still does work. On top of working its way into playing regularly at large venues in Texas like The House of Blues (Dallas and Houston), Granada Theatre (Dallas), Antones (Austin) and more, the band has also played in the Austin City Limits and South by Southwest music festivals. Nelo has supported acts like Sister Hazel, Ghostland Observatory, Everclear, Pat Green, Bob Schneider and more and has also recorded with Doug Lancio (Patty Griffin, John Hiatt) and C.J. Ericksson (U2, Steve Lillywhite).
Focus Tracks: 2, 3
Smoove & Turrell – Broken Toys (Jalapeno Records)
Listen Now: “Will You Be Mine”
GOING FOR TOP 200 ADDS
Newcastle’s finest Smoove & Turrell are back with their third studio album Broken Toys. Their rise through the ranks of British soul has been unstoppable, here’s a little recap why:
First album Antique Soul scored some heavy points with singles “I Can’t Give You Up”, “You Don’t Know” & “Beggarman.” The release gained the lads two records of the week on Radio 2 and their first ever-national playlist on 6Music. The original 7” of the northern soul banger “I Can’t Give You Up” still changes hands for up to £160 on the net. This propelled Smoove & Turrell to playing big stages at festivals such as Glastonbury and Big Chill to name a few, not bad for a then unknown Geordie band.
Any worries about a difficult second album were brushed aside when in 2011 S&T released Eccentric Audio. With Smoove’s timeless production skills and a confident John Turrell at the top of his game both lyrically and vocally, Eccentric Audio saw the boys break through onto national TV & Radio playlists throughout the UK and Europe. Getting two Radio 2 playlists with singles Hard Work and Gabriel and MTV Europe and 3FM rotation on “Slow Down.”
With the word starting to spread across the pond to America – S&T tracks were used on TV shows, feature films and an ABC network primetime ad campaign, as well as in video games and adverts. KCRW in LA put “Hard Work” in their coveted Today’s Top Tune slot further exposing the band to west coast tastemakers.
Back on home turf, track “Hard Work” was used on a national advertising campaign as well as others being used on a host of primetime TV shows such as Match of the Day, Strictly Come Dancing, Splash & Coronation Street opening up Smoove & Turrell to yet a wider audience.
Live performance highlights saw the boys play in venues as varied as the legendary terrace at Space Ibiza, it took them as far a field as Moscow and Dubai, it let them play to the whole of Marseille from the ramparts of a castle and led them to support the one and only Nile Rodgers & Chic.
Now its 2014 and the album is Broken Toys – another jump forward both in terms of production and appeal.
Sparkling pop songs flirt with disco influenced floor stompers in between the blues, jazz, funk & soul the boys are so well known for leading Q magazine to describe the album as “soulful in every sense”.
Hitting the road again with their motley crew of Geordie reprobates – Smoove & Turrell’s 7 piece band tore the place up at their dual album launches at the Jazz Café in London and in their hometown of Newcastle.
Festival highlights for the summer include Kendal Calling, the Great Escape, Bestival and 6Music’s homecoming gig for long time S&T supporter Craig Charles in Liverpool alongside the legendary Lee Fields.
Having been picked by the BPI as one of a handful of UK acts worth supporting with funding for their export potential, the band kick off a European tour in October with dates in Germany Holland and Belgium before heading further afield.
Focus Tracks: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18