The Velveteers, Fair Visions, Melanie Charles, Taylor Scott, Caveman, The Slang, and STEEN are among these press releases for September.
The Velveteers – ‘Motel #27’: I have already featured one of their songs in a previous post (the album’s lead single ‘Charmer and The Snake’), but they sound so good that this new one also deserves a mention. ‘Motel #27’ is a very different track with monster guitar riffs and thunderous drums building a raw punk rock aggression. ‘This song was inspired by a crazy motel we stayed at in the middle of the desert,’ says lead singer/guitarist Demi Demitro about ‘Motel #27.’ ‘Our stay there felt like a weird fever dream. The next day Baby wrote a poem about our experience and that inspired the lyrics for this song.’ The track is also off the band’s debut album, ‘Nightmare Daydream,’ produced by GRAMMY Award-winning artist Dan Auerbach and due October 8 via Easy Eye Sound. The album finds The Velveteers stripping down rock and roll to its most primal elements—the riff, the rhythm, the snarl—and rebuilding it in their own image. ‘We don’t want to sound like a band from a different time,’ says Demitro. ‘We want to sound like a band that’s right here right now—in this very moment.’ And they certainly do! The band is also set to tour this fall as the sole support for genre-bending rocker Des Rocs. Order tickets here and watch the video for the song here.
Fair Visions – ‘Modern Kids’: A synth-driven stomping track evoking ‘80s dancefloor led by Ryan Work’s killer vocals. This is a track off ‘Modern Kids,’ Brooklyn post punk band Fair Visions’ sophomore EP, which was just released a few days ago. ‘Modern Kids’ embraces darkness with a Pandora-like curiosity, introducing a wide chromatic rainbow of hooks and textures, from piano and stompbox fuzz to spectral background vocals and acid house breakdowns. At once tight and sprawling, Fair Visions have never sounded more complex in their channeling of the heady dance lineage of New York New Wave.’ ‘Drawing inspiration from authors like Hesse, Borges, Weil, and Nietszche, as well as the sonic imprints of David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and Carla dal Forno, Fair Visions bring a pointillistic precision to the tradition of New York New Wave.’
Melanie Charles – ‘Woman of The Ghetto’: A jazzy and multi-influenced track with a lot of dynamic textures, African rhythms, and soulful vocals. It is accompanied by a colorful artsy video, directed by AnAk and starring her mother, Maryse Jean-Baptiste, and an intergenerational cast of Black women from her community. ‘I chose ‘Woman Of The Ghetto’ because it’s lyrically relevant,’ Charles notes. ‘And while we were in lockdown, a conversation that we were having was about how kids who were poor children who did not have access to computers or internet were struggling to sustain their education in the midst of lockdown. I also wanted to highlight how you can come from the ghetto or from the hood, but present more than just the stereotype of the ghetto. Marlena Shaw was such a classy, refined, educated, well-spoken Black woman, speaking about the hood. And I think when we discuss the hood it’s sort of like a caricature of us. But actually, we’re so dynamic—we’re multifaceted. Where we’re from doesn’t define how we move in the world.’ ‘Y’all Don’t (Really) Care About Black Women,’ the new album from this emerging artist – a Brooklyn-born singer, songwriter, bandleader, producer, actress and flautist of Haitian descent with a creative fluidity spanning jazz, soul, experimental and roots music – is set for a release on October 22 via Verve.
Taylor Scott – ‘Bleeding Out’: A classic blues-rock sound with wobbling keys, plenty of rocking virtuoso guitar solos, sometimes channeling Los Lobos: Steve Berlin is Taylor Scott’s mentor and friend. The Denver-based guitarist is a relatively new artist with extraordinary guitar chops and his new single ‘Bleeding Out,’ was produced by his friend Steve Berlin.’’Bleeding Out’ is an angry funk song about getting left high & dry, ‘ Scott told Gratefulweb. ‘Musically, I wanted the heavy backbeat to get occasionally broken up by riffs & breaks that sound kind of wild and unhinged. The idea being when the backbeat drops in again, it’s that much heavier. I think the band slayed that feel on the recording. The song kicks especially hard live so we’ve been having a lot of fun with it on the road.’ Last year was a year of reckoning for Scott. After a tough year weathering personal storms, and having live music come to what seemed to be an indefinite pause, he realized the only option was to shift his perspective, and he decided to use the time to reflect and regroup. ‘I recommitted myself to music and personally had to work through so much. I felt like I was hitting my head against the wall for so long, and something finally just broke open. ‘Some of the new songs dealt with those dark months, charging ahead because the only way out of it was to go forward through it. The others are so happy and lighthearted, and I haven’t written that way for years. I’m feeling celebratory now, and those songs reflect that.’
Caveman – ‘Work This Hard’: A melancholic, dreamy track with overall a positive vibe, echoing synths and gentle vocals. The track, and the video, have been released in August alongside their new album ‘Smash’. On the track, singer Matthew Iwanusa says, ’Work This Hard is really about finally saying alright I have a choice to continue to sit in my depression and sadness or go out and find ways to be happy. not necessarily letting go from the memories and the feelings but letting go from the constant weight of sadness.’ He also describes the inspiration behind the accompanying video: ’I thought it would be fun to connect all the videos for this record together, but in a fun way. So a few friends and I went up to New Haven with our iPhones and said, let’s film Superbad meets Ferris Bueller meets Billy Madison.’ ‘Smash’ is the first new Caveman record since 2016’s ’Otero War.’ Much of it was composed just after the death of Iwanusa’s cousin – her nickname ‘Smash’ becoming the album title and much of the music inspired by her.
The Slang – ‘Disguise’: Shimmering guitars, big drums and strong vocals for a song with an anthemic envy, by Washington, DC-based duo The Slang. This is their latest single, which explores our tendency to hide our true selves from others, and it comes from their forthcoming LP ‘Divide,’ set for release on September 24. The album features 10 sparkling alt-rock gems written by co-founders John Bobo and Felix Nieto, and produced by Nieto. ‘It’s our first full-length album, so we used that to our advantage to take risks that we may not have on our prior EP’s,’ explains Bobo. ‘As the expression goes, ‘Stories Don’t End,’ so what happens after the movie ends and the credits have rolled? ‘Divide’ is an album about trying to overcome the inevitable, but continues asking that question of ‘what happens next?’’ With smooth vocals and striking guitar melodies, The Slang is often compared to bands like Snow Patrol and The Killers – and the vocals of ‘Disguise’ made me thing about the Killers – but with a modern twist and more experimental production value. ‘We care about the experience, whether on headphones or at a live show,’ says Nieto, whose production adds a sleekness and edge. Bobo’s introspective lyrics explore singular moments that define human relationships. This beautiful blend of respective talent is evident on ‘Divide,’ which features the band’s characteristic melodic precision, bright, electric guitar-driven anthems, and top-quality production, but with a more pop-leaning sound.
STEEN – ‘What Day Is It?’: A fun and warm track with plenty of sunny vocal harmonies and a very groovy mix of guitars, synths and drums by the genre-bending sibling duo, STEEN. ‘What Day Is It?’ was produced by Justin Raisen (Yves Tumor, Angel Olsen, Kim Gordon) and take listeners on a nostalgic, feel-good joyride. ‘Our real intention with the ‘What Day Is It?’ visual was to capture the essence of what it really means to ‘let go,’ which many of us need now more than ever! That inner rebel never truly disappears… so why hide it?’ the brothers say. Coming from a multi-ethnic home in Orange County, CA, Elijah and Isiah Steen draw on their deep cultural palette to create a sound that’s truly unique and forward. Having never seen themselves in the indie pop scene they were fans of growing up, the brothers are now carving out their own lane dedicated to making music with no rules. They carry themselves with charisma, inspired by musicians such as David Bowie, Michael Jackson, and SoCal legends such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sublime while also pulling from the contemporary sounds of today, STEEN describes their sound as ‘genre-less.’ The STEEN brothers are following their vocation and are here to show the world they aren’t going anywhere.
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