Singer Haley Reinhart (and former American Idol alum) released her fourth album “Lo-Fi Soul” today. The soulful singer-songwriter brings together a unique perspective to this thirteen track collective.
Haley’s jazzy and often smokey timbre is the highlight on “Lo-Fi Soul” as she runs through the in’s and outs of love and heartbreak. Something we all can relate too, in one way or another. On the gospel-tinged opening track “Deep Water”, the 60s Doo-Wop inspired “Oh Damn”, and “Shook” where Reinhart’s playfulness and sexy appeal are most apparent. Reinhart’s vulnerability on this album goes beyond that. On songs like “Don’t Know How to Love You” and “Crack The Code” she ruminates over a relationship and all of its issues. The album is peppered with musical analogies (i.e. “Lo-Fi Soul”) some of which are cliche, but fitting hence the album title. The album overall is a cohesive piece of work if perhaps a bit sleepy towards the end. Any fans of Haley Reinhart will be thrilled with delight, while she’ll definitely gain new fans and listeners as well.
English Indie Pop artist The Japanese House (aka Amber Bain) has released her debut album ‘Good at Falling” out today on Dirty Hit. The album is co-produced by her and The 1975′ George Daniel. Whose own band you can hear has been a major influence on her production but her sound as well. On ‘Good At Falling“, her debut full-length record many influences are heard and felt here. The songwriting is honest and vulnerable, with a quiet sadness felt throughout the album. All of it set against lush electronic instruments, bright guitars, earthy drums, and clever purposeful sampling akin to what is done in hip-hop. Amber’s vocals range from soft and pretty to heady with a touch of grit. Her use of different audio processes is only to enhance the sound. Such as the intro of the album, with her use of heavy processing and samples, before segueing into a dreamy 80s like synthpop. Songs like ‘Maybe There’s A Reason“, and ‘We Talk All The Time” we hear more synthpop influences and artists like The Beach Boys and Blondie. Even little things such as chimes and bells. A vocoder effect shows up on her vocals for the song ‘Wild”. While the track musically has elements of 90s shoegaze and modern electro-pop, Amber’s vocal delivery incorporates a bit of modern hip-hop/RnB swag. All in all the debut album ‘Good at Falling” is a promising one showcasing her songwriting talents as she hones in on the little things that make The Japanese House unique.
Singer and GuitaristGary Clark Jr. is back with a brand new album ‘This Land’. The debut single and title track is already impacting radio. Garnering praise from the likes of Keith Richards, Alicia Keys, and even Former PresidentBarack Obama. Gary is taking no prisoners with this album. His unique ability to seamlessly blend so many genres, Soul, R&B, Blues, Rock, Pop, Funk … really too many to name but it all works well together on ‘This Land’.
We begin the journey on ‘This Land‘ with the title track that is at once a soaring anthem and a super personal track about growing up a Black Man in America. Where getting your own it could still change nothing. It is angsty, driven and is devastatingly beautiful. It’s the perfect opening statement for the record. We segue into tracks ‘What About Us‘ which has a slightly slower tempo but is still riding that same bluesy funk rock feel as the opener. On ‘I Got My On Eyes You’Gary first slips into his falsetto which is featured heavily on this record. This track with all of its old school soul influences has lots of fuzzy guitar shredding throughout. There are also some notable electronic elements peeking in and out. On the pleading and lovelorn ‘I Walk Alone‘ he maintains the falsetto for most of the song with the guitar matching the vibe and feeling as well, harkening back to 60s RnB with just a bit of the Blues as well. Gary picks up the pace significantly with the next two tracks, ‘Feeling Like A MillionBucks‘ and ‘Gotta Get Into Something‘. Both songs are on the opposite ends of the musical spectrum, with ‘Feeling Like A Million Bucks‘ being a feisty, slinky and reggae-tinged track while ‘Gotta Get Into Something‘ being a harder edge bouncy punk influenced song. Yet, they both fit. The reason for this is the signature guitar sound snaking throughout not only these two songs but each and every track on ‘This Land‘. Tracks like ‘Got to Get Up‘ and ‘Feed the Babies‘ have so much Swagger and 70s Funk influences (love the 70s funktastic horns flittering about both songs).
His latest release ‘Pearl Cadillac‘ is just beautiful and a sweet ode with the guitar softly shredding along not too much but not too little. One of the highlights on the album that is so full of standouts. It is a shame because my least favorite song on the album is right after ‘Pearl Cadillac‘. ‘When I’m Gone‘ is a bit clunky amongst the rest of tracks on ‘This Land‘. While there truly isn’t too much wrong with the track as a whole it’s a pretty groovy song. It doesn’t quite come together for me with this one. ‘Guitar Man‘ is a fun blues inspired track that sounds most like classic Gary. As the song continues you’ll find it’s quite the foot-stomping number. ‘Low Down Rolling Stone‘ starts off with some heavy fuzzy guitar and drums. The track feels like a new ageRock anthem for the broken and indifferent. The heaviness in the instruments and only adds to the soulfulness and emotionality of the track. It’s another highlight for me. ‘The Governor‘ is just straight up blues and rock and roll, with the use of an acoustic guitar. This is just a fantastic track overall. Gary’s vocals have a gruffness we don’t hear on much of the record. Gary does a complete 360 on ‘Don’t Wait Til Tomorrow‘ and brings in strings, beautiful harmonies, and more modern influences, like 90s RnB. His vocals shine best on this track. The album ends on tracks ‘Highway 71‘ and ‘Dirty Dishes Blues‘. ‘Highway 71‘ is an instrumental track that opens on a cool sultry electro beat with the guitar riffing along the top of the beat. ‘Dirty Dishes Blues‘ is just a good old fashioned honky tonk blues jam about heartbreak, a perfect way to close out the album that is ‘This Land‘. This record encapsulates so many styles of music that is America, but also the heart and soul of Gary Clark Jr.
Host Bodiesisa live Electronic duo based inSan Franciscocomprised of MC/producerJames Collector(aka Swoop) and multi-instrumentalistNick Hess. They have just released a new EP ‘Diamondfruit’ of beautifully chill songs that you’ll be sure to add to at least one or two of your Downtempo or Mood playlists. Theseven track EP opens with the track ‘Stories’ the notes are soft and lush. It later picks up in speed bringing in other instruments to the track most notably twangy guitar. We transition to ‘Wildcat Beach’ where nature one of Host Bodies biggest influences starts to become even more evident. Sounds of water and the beach forming the better part of this song. Tracks like ‘Accept’ and ‘Orange Marble’ are two of the more groovier tracks on the EP. Even with‘Accept’ clocking in 8:36 it’s the standout track with twisting and turning through all of it’s 8:36. On ‘Diamondfruit’ nature and the organic sounds found within it is the basis for the music. That combined with live guitar work, and electronic music elements,Host Bodiescreate a unique and beautiful soundscape blending two different palettes and it works quite well. It’s a great EP to put on and just mellow out. Therefore allowing yourself to fully feel the melodies created and just escape.
Emma Topolski (Childcare) forms new solo project as ‘Saint Clair’ …
Today I bring you, Saint Clair. It’s the solo project of Childcare Bassist (they recently toured with Bastille), musician and singer-songwriter, Emma Topolski. Her debut EP, ‘D2’was released today (11/14/18) and it’s definitely something not to be missed.
On ‘D2’ we find Emma combining elements of Jazz, Electro-Pop, and R&B music to create a multi-layered EP that’s filled with soulful future pop gems. It provides for a unique contrast against the jazzy tones in her vocals.
The lead single “I’ll Stay” which showcases stunning production through a beautifully haunting track with richly layered power vocals and forlorn lyrics. All echoing from a bygone era of dimly lit smoky jazz clubs. All of this set against a pumping electronic beat and sultry bass line that feels straight out of a Sci-Fi film soundtrack.
Saint Clair says of the track; “’I’ll Stay’ is about wrestling with your demons, trying to keep a sometimes irresistible urge under control. But also about hope and the promise of victory.”
Meet loom:ngs, a unique electronic music duo comprised of Zola Johnson and producer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Daniel Loumpouridis. With what began as a dorm room project soon became much more, their unique take on dark electronic music with cool synths, pop sensibilities and great melodies. This is a band you don’t want to miss.
“We want to use our musical and lyrical sensibilities to explore the relationship between what is being said and what is being heard.” – LOOM:NGS
I got the chance to interview to loom;ngs just ahead of their release of their amazing cover of Joy Division‘s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart‘. We discuss Joy Division, why THIS song, and just music in general. Let’s get to know loom:ngs …
Meet loom:ngs …
Hi, Zola and Daniel. Congrats on the new cover single ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. Before we go into that …
1. Quick question … Coffee or Tea?
Daniel Loumpouridis: Tea, every time.
Zola Johnson: Depends how I’m feeling, but usually it’s tea at night, coffee in the morning.
2. Can you guys tell us how loom:ngs came to be?
Daniel: The first time I met Zola was when we were both in college, I saw her play a couple of her original tunes at an open mic and it blew my mind. I walked right up and hugged her.
Zola: It was weird.
Daniel: It was weird. But then we started working together and we just kept making more and more music until eventually we realized we should probably just be doing this for real.
3. I absolutely love the cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. You’ve managed to keep the original feeling while updating it. So can you tell what initially drew you guys to this song? Where you Joy Division fans prior?
Dan: Totally. We both grew up on 80’s pop and absolutely adore this song. We knew we wanted to cover a tune from that era, but once we looked up Ian Curtis’ lyrics it felt like it was meant to be. They’re so gut-wrenching and beautiful at the same time, but we felt like they got lost in the original arrangement, so we really wanted that to be a focus of our production.
4. Are themes of loss and love something that you guys feel most comfortable in telling? Or just telling about human relationships overall? Be it good or bad.
Zola: I always write and sing from my heart rather than my head. I’m definitely more comfortable talking about love and loss than something I’ve never experienced. Every song we write is true to us in some form or another, regardless of the actual narrative being sung. “Make This More” isn’t necessarily a true story, but that doesn’t mean that the emotion and feeling in the songwriting isn’t perfectly honest. It all comes from a place of authenticity, and for me that means it comes from a place of real emotion.
5. Where do you draw your biggest inspirations and influences from? In particularly for this song?
Dan: James Blake and Kanye West have written my bible when it comes to production. We always try to look at things from that perspective they seem to have where it’s like “okay, this is what people are doing, how can I do that but better?” They’re both pop musicians, yet they consistently defy and then redefine pop preconceptions. I could go on for days about those two. Specifically we wanted this song to feel like it lives in 2018 as much as the original feels like it lived in the 80’s. We have those classic trappy hi-hats that are everywhere now, some future bass-inspired synths, and lots of vocoder. You can’t go anywhere on the radio right now without hearing some combination of those three things.
6. What lyric from “Love Will Tear Us Apart” hits home for each of you the most?
Zola: “There’s a taste in my mouth / as desperation takes hold” is just so descriptive and honest. Absolutely haunting.
Dan: “Why is the bedroom so cold? / you’ve turned away on your side / is my timing that flawed?” just absolutely destroys me. Every time. Every freaking time.
7. If you could give any other Joy Division song the ‘loom:ngs’ treatment what would you choose?
Zola: I think we could do some weird stuff to “She’s Lost Control”
Dan: I’ve been pushing for us to try out “Bizarre Love Triangle”. I know that’s New Order, but it’s kind of the same band so I’m counting it.
8. Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you as a band lately? What music have you guys been digging?
Zola: Hundred Waters, Vince Staples, LCD Soundsystem, Jamiexx, Lorde, and always a healthy dose of Radiohead.
9. Do you guys have any dream collaborations?
Dan: I feel like Johnny Greenwood and I would get along real well musically. The man can arrange the hell out of a string section.
Zola: I’d love to work with Justin Vernon or Nicole Miglis from Hundred Waters. I relate so much to their lyricism and the way they approach songwriting.
10. And what’s next for loom:ngs?
Zola: Our first EP is coming out later in the summer, but that’s just the first step. We have so much music that we’re beyond excited to share, and an amazing live show that we’ve been working so hard on. This year is going to be filled with goodthings.