CDSM, Frog Eyes, RYANN, Art d’Ecco, Holland Belle, Oliver Sim, Liv Slingerland are among these press releases for April
CDSM – “Concrete”: Darkwave synth with a menacing tone but pushing the genre to new territories as the song grows into an original post-punk-meets-punk piece. CSDM, a.k.a. Celebrity Death Slot Machine, is a collective based in Atlanta, Georgia that features current and former members of alternative outfits: Material Girls, Neighbor Lady, Mothers, and Rose Hotel. CDSM is helmed by Ben Presley (vocals, guitar/bass, synthesizers, drums), Tyler Jundt (vocals, saxophone, synthesizers), and John Restivo Jr. (vocals, drums, percussion). The live band features accompaniment from Jack Blauvelt (synthesizers, percussion, backing vocals), Drew Kirby (synthesizers, guitar, backing vocals), and Vinny Restivo (synthesizers, bass, percussion, backing vocals). This formula, consisting of an evil choir of synthesizers, a shining drum set bathed in red fog, a tenor brass machete, and a cascading flow of motley melodists, is said to affect the room like a defibrillator jolting its pulse. In “Concrete,” the world is literally and metaphorically crumbling around you. A post-punk underground rager filled with rumbling synths and swirling saxophone riffs, “Concrete” is hedonism clinking in your glass, change jingling in the pit of your chest. Both glamorous and bleak, swanky and derelict, uplifting and crushing, “Concrete” is post-punk meets darkwave meets no wave, but it’s even more so, an invitation to dance away the pain, in the form of croonesque laments, rumbling synths, swirling saxophone riffs and tight four-to-the-floor cadences. You now have the perfect clair-obscure soundtrack for a night at the local neon-noir casino. Their new EP “Hell Stairs” is out on April 29 via Mothland.
Frog Eyes – “Rainbow Stew“: A straightforward rock song with shades of glam rock and eccentric vocals. With ambient tones, sideways guitar shapes cascading down, singer Carey Mercer turns into a bizarro mode with surreal lyrical imagery. This is a new single by beloved Vancouver-based band Frog Eyes with Carey Mercer on vocals and guitar, Melanie Campbell on drums, and Shyla Seller on synthesizer and electric piano. Speaking on the single, Carey Mercer wrote: “‘Rainbow Stew’ doesn’t unpack as cleanly, in terms of a personal narrative, as the two other songs we’ve released for “The Bees,” but it is representative of one of the five kinds of songs that I can write — usually this type comes at the end of the writing process when I have a sense of the shape and weight of the record. These songs come really fast — I think I wrote this song in 5 minutes — and they serve a contrasting purpose. I remember in (the 3 months that I attended) painting school, learning about Cezanne’s White Pipe, how it livens the paintings, and also intensifies the gloom in the corners. ‘Rainbow Stew’ lightens the whole affair and allows the dense haze of other songs their own beauty. These songs are the ones I personally cherish the most.” The new LP “The Bees” arrives April 29 via Paper Bag Records, after the band’s stint under the name Soft Plastics, following Frog Eyes’ “final” album, “Violet Psalms,” released in 2018.
RYANN – “Last Call”: A delicate soundscape for airy to dreamy vocals while strong drumbeats inhabit the song, transforming it into a more rhythmical experience. This is the new song by rising Los Angeles artist RYANN, who should release more new music soon. “‘Last call’ is about the ever-changing nature of moving through your 20s,” says RYANN. “It’s a strange feeling to look back at a time where something, or in this case someone, felt so important and now feel so disconnected from that version of myself.” RYANN, who has opened for breakout Norwegian singer/songwriter Sigrid in New York, will announce further U.S. tour dates. Born in New York City, RYANN began making a name for herself as a songwriter while nurturing her own musical pursuits on the side. RYANN released her debut EP “Emotions on Rollerskates” last fall while her previously released tracks “Rollerskates,” “One Minute,” “Andrew” and a cover of Post Malone’s “Circles” have received both critical and commercial praise. With only one EP and a few features out, she has already accumulated over 12 million streams, with 3.5 million listeners on Spotify alone. RYANN’s continued songwriting accolades include her co-writing on Tate McRae’s “feel like shit” as well as Noah Cyrus and PJ Harding’s “The Worst of You.” She also has forthcoming collaborations with Nessa Barrett, Elah Hale, Yuna, Adam Melchor, and more.
Art d’Ecco – “Only Ones”: An alluring and stomper dance-rock anthem with retro to modern vibes, delivered via a driving rhythm section and an unforgettable hook, clearly inspired by some glorious glam rock. Canadian art-rock singer-songwriter/producer Art d’Ecco has announced his brand-new album, “After The Head Rush, “due June 24 via Paper Bag Records. If the new single – called a “Magnificent Anthem” by Simon Le Bon in his SiriusXM show – is an unapologetic ode to the audacity and playful cynicism of growing up, “After The Head Rush” emerges as the shadow of a sundial cast between two time zones – one in the past, and one in the present. Infused with belated coming-of-age wisdom it sparks the dawn of a new era – inspired by a move to his hometown and the thrill of rediscovering the music of his youth. “Returning home as an adult, after being away almost 20 years – before all the travel, touring, and living – put a spell on me.” He said. “It had me constantly framing and reframing the memories, moving emotional goal posts to better suit my current needs. Asking myself ‘are you happy? Is life everything you hoped and dreamed it would be?'” Art d’Ecco, who recently played both New Colossus Festival in New York and SXSW in Austin, TX, has a number of shows coming up in the UK and is certainly an artist to watch. The song comes with a video.
Holland Belle – “Magnetism”: A lovely and lush track with Holland Belle’s pure and celestial vocals. “Magnetism” is the latest song to be lifted from her debut solo album, “Bird Song” set to be released on May 13. On the track, that centers on a sense of faith, Belle urges her heart to go other places on the easeful and mysterious single — to sit in silence and stillness among the chaos of the world. Gentle percussion pushes Belle forward as she discovers the tranquility and warmth that she has searched for in other people, was in fact always within her. Recorded at Basement Floods Records analog recording studio in Catskill, NY, and produced by Dante Bardo, the forthcoming album is about building faith in something greater. Change, evolution, and joy take real courage, and while some will be content to stay underwater, “Bird Song” sees Belle swim towards the surface. On the album, she finds her most natural voice, weaving a folk-tinged thread through a lens of self-reflection and spirituality. It’s here that Belle transforms uncertainty into songs of optimism and strength. Birds, frogs, thunderstorms, and the sounds of the woods crept into these songs, as Belle’s iridescent, velvet-rich vocal saunters across each track. The result is a testament to the observance and acceptance of the present moment, where she welcomes the unexpected and flourishes under the tapestry of the traditional. Belle also invited friends Jonathan Talbot (strings) and Wesley Harper (additional keys) onto the record, while mixing engineer Andy Baldwin (Bjork, St Lucia, Haerts) helped to piece together the intimate and immersive sonic universe of “Bird Song.”
Oliver Sim – “Fruit”: A slow ballad with light percussion and Oliver Slim’s strong and emotional voice that soars over an electronic soundscape growing to a cathartic level. Slim, who is best known for his work as a songwriter, bassist, and vocalist for The xx, has penned the single to his younger self as a joyful celebration of queer identity and self-acceptance. “My new song produced by Jamie xx. Music video directed by one of my absolute favorite directors: the sexy, hilarious, scary, and soulful Yann Gonzalez,” says Sim. “Dig in and I hope you enjoy it. In five weeks’ time, I will be playing my first ever solo shows in London, Paris, Berlin, New York and L.A. Joined by some very talented new friends. I’ll be playing my extensive back catalog of two songs and something extra 😉 Come see me.” French director Yann Gonzalez (Knife + Heart) who directed the video had this to say: “Oliver and I have so much in common: we love pop culture, horror films and we used to be femme kids before turning into proud queer adults. So, when he asked me to work on his poignant solo tracks, most of the ideas popped up quite naturally and the ‘Fruit’ video became this magic tale of liberation that the lyrics and the emotionally driven music already implied. The song and the TV show here are like a multi-faceted mirror where Oliver and the kid, the live performance with its crew and flirtatious TV host, the 35mm film, and the Ikegami video all shine and merge in order to create the same exhilarating feeling of being freed.” Furthermore, Sim will play his first-ever solo shows this May with very special, intimate dates in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, and Los Angeles. “Fruit” follows Sim’s solo debut single, “Romance With A Memory,” which debuted last month with a lyric video starring artists and drag performers Charity Kase, HoSo Terra Toma, Gena Marvin, and more. Both tracks will feature on a forthcoming limited edition vinyl 12” available only via Oliver’s webstore and Young Store
Liv Slingerland – “An Entire Lifetime”: The powerful and punchy song is a groovy indie rock number with harmonies and a few explosive moments unpacking emotions while Slingerland explores a personal reckoning with identity, a feeling overwhelmingly brought on by learning in her early twenties that she was adopted as a newborn. Produced by herself, Wolfy, and Math Bishop, the song interpolates Fleetwood Mac’s “Little Lies,” a track Slingerland listened to on repeat during childhood. “The chorus made its way into my head while I was writing one day and it felt so natural to turn it into something more,” she shares. “The process of finishing this song helped me find a way to work through the surprise and upset that I was experiencing at that time by coupling those feelings with a memory of a sound that was so reminiscent of growing up.” The video for “An Entire Lifetime” centers around Kill Bill-esque shots of a cat and mouse chase between a driver and motorcyclist. The driver begins to pursue the motorcyclist, each only catching several slight glimpses of the other before finally coming face to face when it is then revealed that both characters are the same person.
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – October 1972 (Volume 4, Number 5)
We leap ahead almost a year
A flatout triumph from a major performer
New Wave pop bliss out
I WISH I HADN’T GONE
a time-capsule type of roster
Creem -America’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1971 (Volume 3, Number 6)
“Sure, we don’t pay much but then who else do ya know who’ll publish you?”
in the immortal words of Jason Isbell to me at Gov Ball a coupla years ago: “let’s do this…”
one of the great top tens of the 2020
old school Puerto Rican underground sounds
a masterful pop about loving a drug addict