Devon Thompson, d4vd, JJUUJJUU, Flume, ALO, Laufey, and Secret Machines are the artists among these press releases for February.
Devon Thompson – “Soft Like Water”: An engaging and fierce rock song unleashing a part of anxiety, mystery, darkness, and triumph thanks to layered ferocious guitar riffs, restless drums, and groaning vocals. This a fiery introduction to Devon Thompson, a Los Angeles native, who armed with her Gibson Epiphone guitar, an arsenal of songs, and a defiant attitude is ready to take on the world. The driving guitar track is the snarling sound of a young woman discovering who she is. “I was so insecure my whole life and felt like I wasted years worrying about what other people thought of me worrying about not fitting in,” says Thompson. “I was watching a video of a creature on the bottom of the ocean floor being pulled around by the current, and I thought that was me. I have to write about it. Water is malleable. If you touch it even slightly, the wind blows it. It’s easily pushed around. It’s just like the little sea creature, helplessly shoved around by the ocean’s current. Hence the meaning of the opening line of the song.” Thompson approaches her songwriting with the same raw simplicity as the music that permeated her developmental years such as The Animals, Bill Evans, and the Beatles. Songs start with one meaningful line, then a groove and bassline that the song is built around. “That is the foundation I love,” says Thompson. “I’m a guitar player and like the bass and the drums is what makes the song. And then the one powerful guitar line. We definitely stick and revert back to classic songwriting techniques from the 60s in the 70s,“ says Thompson. “Those were beautifully crafted perfect songs.” The song was captured in an equally bare-bones recording environment which was vital for capturing the energy and raw emotion of the song. “Soft Like Water” was recorded and produced by James Salter (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Ravonettes, Gringo Star) in a classic body shop in Ventura, CA surrounded by motorcycles. vintage cars, parts, and collectibles. The drums were set up and mic’d under a vintage Porsche on a car rack, enabling Salter to capture a literal garage sound. Thompson’s power as a performer is showcased in the video that sees a woman refusing to be a doormat, to anyone, including herself. The song comes with a video.
d4vd – “Placebo Effect”: A melancholic, emotive indie song describing an experience of unrequited love, reinforced by ambient mournful instrumentals as d4vd laments and realizes that what he felt was just a placebo effect of the real thing. The budding star (he is only 17) is mature beyond his years and can craft “emotive indie-leaning gems, breaking through to the mainstream.” This single is a capstone for d4vd’s breakout in 2022 and a sign of much more to come in 2023. Last year, d4vd released two highly acclaimed chart-climbing singles, the grungy, guitar-driven breakup anthem “Romantic Homicide” (spending its 22nd week on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaking at #1 on Spotify’s US Viral chart) and slow-building beachy ballad “Here With Me”– which is spending its 5th week on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and hit a new global Spotify peak at #13. d4vd was recently named one of Zane Lowe’s 23 Artists To Watch In 2023 and named a hero artist for Amazon Music’s Artists to Watch 2023. After facing copyright strikes on his gaming youtube channel, d4vd began recording his own music inside his sister’s closet on the app BandLab. He stays true to his DIY beginnings as he continues to release genre-defying singles with influences ranging from R&B to Indie Rock.
JJUUJJUU – “Nowhere”: A psychedelic glitchy piece with fast-driving guitars, foggy vocals, and infectious drumbeats. This is JJUUJJUU’s first single of 2023 coming ahead of their spring performance at the UK’s Wide Awake Festival. The band, fronted by Desert Daze co-founder Phil Pirrone, consists of a rotating ensemble of collaborators. The visual for the track was created by animator Micah Buzan, who has worked on videos for Adult Swim and music videos/tour visuals for a variety of bands including Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Flaming Lips, and The Claypool Lennon Delirium. “Nowhere” follows the release of last fall’s “Daisy Chain” –JJUUJJUU’s first new single in four years, and “Crappy New Year.” Over the next several years, Pirrone recorded in various spaces around California to document the songs that would eventually make up JJUUJJUU’s debut LP, Zionic Mud. Sessions included collaborations with Vinyl Williams, members of Lumerians, Dahga Bloom, and more. The album’s release was accompanied by alternate versions of the tracks remixed or reimagined by many of the band’s notable supporters including J Mascis, jennylee of Warpaint, Liars, Metz, and Autolux. In support of Zionic Mud, JJUUJJUU toured opening for Primus, Mastodon, Kikagaku Moyo, Earthless, and festivals including Pickathon, Nelsonville, M3F, and more. Look for more from JJUUJJUU in the coming months including info on their forthcoming new album!
Flume – “Things Don’t Always Go The Way You Plan”: An electronic soundscape filled with looping beats, distinct synth lines, drones, and fuzz slowly building up a widescreen production. Grammy-winning electronic music titan Flume has unveiled a surprise package of unheard music from the last decade. The release marks ten years since Flume’s self-titled debut 2012’s “Flume” launched the now-iconic producer and his signature sound into the stratosphere, with billions of streams worldwide and Platinum sales in multiple countries. In addition to the surprise music, Flume will headline The Kia Forum in Los Angeles on May 5 to celebrate the milestone anniversary, with support from Chet Faker and Kučka. Based on his social media posts it appears the music was culled from laptops and hard drives stashed away while he worked on other projects. Fans displayed significant nostalgia around the ten-year anniversary of his debut album with mounting requests to share more music after the release of the early demo, “Slugger 1.4 [2014 Export.WAV],” in late 2022. It appears “Things Don’t Always Go The Way You Plan” may be the response. “Things Don’t Always Go The Way You Plan” features tracks with Injury Reserve, Panda Bear, and Isabella Manfredi—with whom Flume previously collaborated on “The Greatest View” and “TRUST.” The collection is an immersive dive into the various eras of Flume with a combination of experimental and vocal material. There are uplifting cinematic moments, “Close 1.2 [2016 Export Wav],” wonky mixtape era beats, “Nice 2 Know U 1.5.3 [2020 Export Wav],” a return to hip hop, “Counting Sheep (V2) [2018 Export Wav],” and classic song driven material, “Rhinestone 1.7.2 [2018 Export Wav].” It’s all very Flume and consistent with the eclecticism that has earned him his unique lane in electronic music and popular culture.
ALO – “Sparrow”: A feel-good tune with a retro feel, a touch of synth, bright vocals, and catchy riffs over a variety of pop-rock flavors. This is a track from California rock band ALO, released ahead of their ninth studio album, “Silver Saturdays” due out March 3 via Brushfire Records. Alongside the track, the band shares an accompanying animated visual that becomes increasingly more detailed as it develops. It sees the band reunite with animator and director Deren Ney (Tom Petty, Grace Potter, Marcus King) who was behind the previously released “Hot Damn” video. Ney explains, “Lebo had the idea of this amorphous, eternal power that can materialize as a sparrow, an arrow, or a musical goddess, but it’s always this propulsive energy that keeps moving forward and affecting things along the way.” Adding more context behind the video, Ney adds, “The video is a creation myth for the record, starting at the inception of the universe — ‘A Brief History of Silver Saturdays.’ The animation design evolves along with the story, starting very minimalist and building until it’s a full-on cosmic freakout.” Plus, ALO will hit the road this spring on the Tour d’Amour XVI around the Western U.S. with support from Rainbow Girls on several dates, and other dates featuring Hot Buttered Rum, ORGŌNE, Ron Artis II, and The Moore Brothers. “Sparrow,” out today, celebrates the power music has to make one feel understood and its ability to carry one through a difficult time. Explaining the meaning behind the track, Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz shares, “Who amongst us has not been knocked to the floor, or lifted to the clouds by the power of a song that hit them at just the right moment in their life? ‘Sparrow’ is an ode to this goddess of music. She is not bound by time or space, and she always shows up right on time… but only if you let her.” The forthcoming album Silver Saturdays celebrates an ongoing journey that began in Saratoga, California in the late eighties when Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz (guitar/vocals), Zach Gill (keyboards/vocals) and Steve Adams (bass/vocals) met in grade school. It stands out as the first full-length studio release featuring drummer/vocalist Ezra Lipp—a fixture in the Northern California creative scene where he cut his teeth with the likes of Phil Lesh, Sean Hayes, and countless others. Meanwhile, the title nods to the band’s recent penchant for silver attire at their Saturday shows, which became a costume theme amongst their fan base and an acknowledgment of their silver “25th” anniversary.
Laufey – “Valentine”: An old-fashioned song blending jazz, classical, and pop, with a timeless Hollywood charm. This is a new version of Laufey’s breakout track originally appearing on “Everything I Know About Love.” The song originally peaked at #1 on the Spotify Jazz Chart where it currently sits at #2, behind another Laufey hit “Let You Break My Heart Again.” Following a breakout in 2022, rising jazz artist Laufey is releasing “A Night At The Symphony,” a curated collection of songs recorded last year during a sold-out two-night run at Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavík with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. The project features previously released tracks off her debut album “Everything I Know About Love” and her 2021 EP “Typical of Me” as well as reworks of Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington’s “The Nearness of You,” Cole Porters’ “Everytime We Say Goodbye” and Icelandic jazz artist Elly Vilhjálms’ “Ég Veit Þú Kemur.” “A Night at The Symphony” will be released on March 2 via AWAL. Laufey (pronounced lāy-vāy) is a Los Angeles-based singer, composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist whose jazz songs are about young love and self-discovery. Raised between Reykjavík and Washington, D.C. with annual visits to Beijing, the Icelandic-Chinese artist grew up playing cello as well as piano and became hooked on the jazz standards of Ella Fitzgerald after digging through her father’s record collection. In 2020, the 23-year-old musician released her debut single “Street by Street,” written while she attended the Berklee College of Music. The song reached the top of the Icelandic radio charts and caught the eyes of contemporaries like Billie Eilish, Willow Smith, V of BTS, and dodie. Following the release of her Typical of Me EP, Laufey was named Best New Artist in Jazz and Blues at the Icelandic Music Awards and hosted her own show on BBC Radio 3/BBC Sounds. Laufey’s music continues to receive critical praise both stateside and abroad; Rolling Stone proclaims, “[Laufey’s] fluid guitar playing pushes the track [‘I Wish You Love’] towards bossa nova, while she buttresses her tender lead with long lines of sighing backing vocals that bring to mind the Jordanaires, who sang on hits for Patsy Cline and Elvis Presley,” while Consequence furthers, “Laufey deftly melds new elements of modern music with more traditional sounds of classic jazz, articulating the push and pull of love and loss with distinct eloquence.” In 2022, Laufey appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and was the most streamed jazz artist on Spotify in 2022.
Secret Machines – “The Finalizer”: Hypnotic guitar riffs, sludgy drumming, and dark textures build a sinister, psychedelic, almost spacey aura haunted by Pink Floyd-esque vocals. Secret Machines recently announced their forthcoming LP, “The Moth, The Lizard, and the Secret Machines” (due March 24, 2023), a somewhat “lost” record and their first new release since 2020’s “Awake in the Brain Chamber.” To continue the momentum kickstarted by recent singles “There’s No Starting Over” and “You Want It Worse,” Secret Machines has also shared this new single. Brandon Curtis described the new track: “‘The Finalizer’ is one of my favorite tracks on the record. It started from the same riff as the fourth track on the album, ‘Even Out the Overflow,’ and even though it went in a completely different direction, I feel like it retains some of the same feelings – in a sort of inverse relationship. It’s the last song on the album, and the last song we will preview before we release the whole album. So, I guess there is some finality to it. Endings often come with the promise of new beginnings. But there is always the chance that every goodbye could be the last. Thanks for listening 🙂 “Finally getting to share these songs after so many incarnations, after all this time, after so much has happened, has been a wonderful experience. Listening through has been like connecting to a memory that had begun to recede. I think the improvisational nature of the process and the rawness of the performances allow all this feeling and emotion to bubble up through the wash of sounds and pulses. We are extremely proud of the work that went into making this album and we are excited to present this track as another preview of the album.”
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – March 1986 (Volume 17, Number 7)
You can definitely see Creem’s change of direction
US Top Ten Albums Tracking 3-17-23 – 3-23-23
Morgan will be pulling off singles for at least the next year
Press Releases For March, Here Are The Artists
A cold and nonchalant delivery for a song that rocks hard
Going Steady: New Singles 3-24-23 – 3-30-23 Reviewed
essence of a certain American masculinity
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – February 1986 (Volume 17, Number 6)
the perceived threat to authority is more class-based than generational
L. A. Burning, West Coast Concert Picks March 27th To April 2nd
Depeche Mode are at the Kia Forum
Sneak Peaks: Upcoming Album Releases 3-31-23 – 4-6-23
he left Griselda so he has a lot to prove…
UK Top 10 Singles 3-24-23 – 3-30-23
the longest running at the top this decade with ten weeks
UK Top 10 Albums 3-24-23 – 3-30-23
the worst greatest hits ever