Joseph Keckler, Occurrence, Liily, The Neverland Express + Caleb Johnson, DJ Hanzel, and Matthew & The Mainstream are among these press releases for January.
Joseph Keckler – “Ghost Song”: Such an unusual artist and track! This is not on Spotify by the way, but there is a lyric video. It starts as storytelling and then you get this dark, over-the-top baritone, an operatic bombastic voice above sentimental keys narrating some absurd (and humorous) dark story, mostly describing a sexual experience with a ghost! “Ghost Song” effectively reveals the details of an ultimately ineffable encounter in a remote locale. Joseph Keckler, a musician, songwriter, writer, and multifaceted creator, has a unique way to deliver an ambiguously autobiographical episode into a dreamy, heightened musical drama. Shot in a remote cabin in upstate New York, the video was created by Joseph Keckler and photographer Michael Sharkey, with cinematography and editing by Daniel Sharkey. The track for Ghost Song was captured live at Coffey Street Studio in Red Hook Brooklyn, with Matthew Dean Marsh on piano and Lavinia Pavlish on Violin, recorded and mixed by Will Tendy, and mastered by Patrick Derivaz. The video was supported by the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art as part of a larger project. In 2019, Keckler premiered two evening-length music performance pieces, “Train With No Midnight” (Prototype Festival) and “Let Me Die” (Opera Philadelphia), and toured the U.S. as the opener for Sleater-Kinney. His debut essay and story collection, “Dragon at the Edge of a Flat World” was published in 2018 by Turtle Point Press. He is currently working on an album, a film, and a series of new videos.
Occurrence – “Heels Over Head”: A light, fluid, busy, layered, psych-pop song habited by many voices and electronic beats turning into a jubilant electro-pop anthem. This is the lead single from Occurrence’s upcoming fourth album, “Slow Violence,” slated for release on April 7. Occurrence is Ken Urban (electronics, synths & beats), Cat Hollyer (vocals, flute), and Johnny Hager (vocals), and the trio describes their music as “experimental electronic pop with a nostalgic bent.” Johnny and Ken started this song during the lockdown in the Summer of 2020. Since Cat couldn’t be with Ken and Johnny in person, Ken sampled her vocals and played them on a keyboard, so it could be like she was there in the studio singing with Johnny. The band asked Kip Berman of The Natvral and Pains of Being Pure at Heart to play guitar on it. He sent this crazy awesome version where he turned it into a Weezer song. Though the band didn’t pursue that route, it cracked open the song for the band. Ken went in and re-thought the song from the ground up, all while keeping most of Kip’s lead guitar parts. It took ages to get the arrangement right. Johnny set out to make this song all joy—pure happiness and pure bliss. Ken’s ability to bring parallel universes to life inside one song—the dark co-existing with something light—acted as a perfect backdrop to Johnny’s lyrics. This song is about the moment you realize you’re in love. Nothing anyone does or says is going to change your mind. You don’t even question how long that moment will last. You just live in that moment during this song.
Liily – “Applause”: An abrasive and hard-hitting dance-punk-rock song by the Los Angeles-based young band, delivered with their usual riotous energy and underlining metal guitar riffs building a cacophonic tension à la Rage Against The Machine. In 2021, Liily shared their debut LP, “TV or Not TV,” to rave reviews, and this is their first piece of new music since then, a new track entitled “Applause.” The track also comes alongside an official visualizer, created by guitarist Sam De La Torre. Speaking on their new single, the band wrote: “I guess you can say ‘Applause’ is our own take on a dance song and an exciting follow up to our first record, TV or Not TV. It shows the gradual artistic growth inspired by our first year touring post-pandemic and the necessary performative and sonic shift we endured becoming a 4 piece.” More new music from Liily will be coming this year via Flush Records, as the band has already released some 2023 tour dates with FIDLAR. And if you were wondering, you are correct: Liily played Miley Cyrus’ New Year’s Eve Party, live from Miami on NBC… drummer Maxx Morando is dating Miley.
The Neverland Express + Caleb Johnson – “All Revved Up With No Place To Go”: An upbeat banger made famous by the late Meat Loaf. Paul Crook, Meat Loaf’s longtime producer, music director, and guitarist, recently announced the forthcoming release of “Paradise Found: Bat Out of Hell Reignited,” a new LP helmed by Meat Loaf’s official band, The Neverland Express, featuring alumni Justin Avery, (keyboard, vocals), Tom Brislin (orchestration), Steve Buslowe (bass), Paul Crook (guitar), Randy Flowers (guitar), David Luther (saxophone), Lyssa Lynne (“Stop Right There!”), John Miceli (drums) and American Idol Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson providing lead vocals. The album will be shared on January 27 via through Deko Entertainment and Crook’s label, Crooked Media, LLC. “Paradise Found” reimagines the sound, passion, and fury of the original “Bat Out of Hell,” the 1977 release by Meat Loaf and composer Jim Steinman, which remains in the top five best-selling albums of all time. It includes all seven songs performed in their original order. The song arrangements have developed over decades of touring and now the listener can hear these re-envisioned versions. As Crook states on the album: “The music is timeless, and we play it virtually note for note. The wall of sound that fans experience when seeing us live is captured in this recording. Meat Loaf fans will be pleased. We’re hoping this release introduces Meat and Jim to a whole new fan base. This album has been a labor of love for us. Meat Loaf’s passing has left a huge hole in the hearts of millions around the world. We are committed to keeping the legacy alive by celebrating this incredible music. I felt there was no better way to honor our boss and Jim than to release our tribute to Bat Out of Hell on this special 45th anniversary.” 2023 performances are scheduled, including a very special six-show UK tour on May 20 to 27.
DJ Hanzel – “Take A Little Bit”: Fat beats, hypnotic rhythms, and soul voices for a dance-club-ready electronic single by the ever-elusive superstar DJ Hanzel. This is a new track from his debut album (“Anti Everything, out on January 20) which also features previously shared singles “Gumby,” which Dancing Astronaut called his “deepest and heaviest cut,” “Make Me Feel” and “Talkin,” all of which found Hanzel doubling down on his overarching mission to “go one deeper.” Hanzel spent the next several years grinding away in Düsseldorf’s club scene while supporting himself with a corporate day job as a composer at a marketing firm writing jingles. His music was heard by happy children across Germany, which greatly depressed him, but it was at his darkest hour that Hanzel finally had his big break. During a late-night set at a club in Stuttgart, a Rottweiler ran on stage and tore off DJ Hanzel’s clothes. German music kingpin and head of Soft Pretzel Records, Uli Ziegler, saw footage of the event on Germany’s number one primetime show and Ziegler immediately offered Hanzel a multi-million Deutschmark record deal. All Hanzel had to do was sign, but right before he could, he realized something—the fewer people that hear his music, the more power it can hold. He decided not to accept the contract and instead create music with the intention of no one ever hearing it. He now labors tirelessly to one day write a song that even he himself has not heard, while at the same time fending off the inferior American DJ Di**on Fr***is from interfering with his work. Hanzel continues his commitment to true art while always pushing himself to go “one deeper.”
Matthew & The Mainstream – “Can’t Believe (You’re Living With Him)”: A happy and playful tune with a retro soul vibe and even a jazzy feel. This is a new song featuring Reggie Watts (video here) from LA supergroup Matthew & The Mainstream. Their upcoming album “Rom Core,” out on January 13. is truly a team endeavor: it also features Larry Goldings (James Taylor, Scary Pockets), Sebastian Steinberg (Blake Mills, Sara Watkins) on upright bass, Isaiah Gage (FINNEAS, John Legend, Van Dyke Parks) on cello, Davey Chegwidden on percussion and Steve Scalfati (Ginuwine, The Long Winters) on horns “Rom Core” was recorded over the course of three years, from Spring 2018 to Fall 2021 at Thundershirt Studios, in Echo Park, Los Angeles. The album is produced by Thundershirt (Scott Seiver and Tim Young), mastered by John Spiker, engineered and mixed by Scott Seiver. Guitars and bass by Tim Young, drums by Scott Seiver, and backing vocals by Seiver, Young, and Lurie. Keys by Matthew Lurie with contributions from Larry Goldings (STYBSG, Temporary Living Situation). String quartet (Baby You’re Too Good To Me) features Tom Lea, Ji Young An, Adrianne Pope, Chris Ahn. The album of 10 songs was culled from a selection of 25 demos Lurie brought in, workshopped with Young and Seiver, and then recorded piecemeal, in between touring gigs and a pandemic. The album title comes from Lurie’s affection for rom-coms, art that’s centered on love and lovelessness, and the realization that few artists today speak plainly about matters of the heart.
Miley makes it three at the top
better than you remember
it has been four years since her last long player
quickly get your music noticed
A fast rock & roll song performed with a retro punk vibe
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – April 1983 (Volume 14, Number 11)
the final issue edited by Susan Whitall
hard rock meets classic rock meets Americana
Chuck D is at the Grammy Museum
On The Red Carpet For The Screening Of “The Beast Inside” At The Angelica Cinema, Sunday, January 29th, 2023: pictures by Billy Hess
a powerhouse performance by Sadie Katz and SohoJohnny as you never thought you’d see him