All posts filed under: Music

POPDOSE PREMIERE: Kylie Odetta, “Can’t Erase It”

Over the past few years, we as music listeners have been #blessed with strong female vocalists that recall iconic songstresses of the past, women like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday. Enter Kylie Odetta, whose voice recalls not only legendary performers, but falls somewhere between Lana Del Ray, Norah Jones, and Macy Grey. Her vocals combine silky smoothness with a sultry passion that’s the winning concoction for an irresistible sound. She takes it a step further in her new video for “Can’t Erase It,” embodying the very era that her style recalls. When juxtaposed against a vintage vignette, the songs sounds positively timeless. But if you close your eyes, however, you just might think you’re listening to a trendy radio station in 2016 (which, in a way, you are). Check out “Can’t Erase It” below, and look for Kylie Odetta’s new album, out February 12!

5 Songs That Shaped Alt Rockers Bad Reed’s Signature Sound

Music is a melting pot, and any one band can draw influences from all over the place. Canadian rockers Bad Reed crack a couple of good-music eggs into a skillet and scramble. The result is a sound that parallels Alabama Shakes and A Perfect Circle, but is shaped into something wholly their own. We asked the band for five of their most influential songs any why they inspire their sound, particularly on their three-song EP (out now). Here’s what they said. 1. “In the Court of the Crimson King,” King Curtis “Every inkling from 1969-2016, spearheaded by the legend Robert Fripp and his ever-changing pool of talent, has been sheer sonic gold. Adrian Belew, Tony Levin, and Bill Bruford are among my favorite musicians of all time, and they know what’s up!” 2. “Lingus (We Like It Here),” Snarky Puppy “Modern jazz and progressive rock rolled into a super smooth group that is unlike any other. These guys know how to write an album, and Michael League is a songwriting visionary.” 3. “Back to Black,” …

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ALBUM REVIEW: JIMKATA, “In Motion”

Very much in that new vein and crop of ’80’s-influenced synth-pop comes the third release from Ithaca, New York’s Jimkata, a trio who know that part of the key to success for that particular sound is the skill and art in writing a memorable pop song.  And this album has plenty.  From the moment the album begins with the aptly-titled “Wild Ride”, you know you’re in for something good.  Not quite wild, per se, but catchy and memorable, which is what counts. “Build Me Up” has a bubbly sweetness about it, which dispels the notion that electronic-based music is cold and mechanical; if anything, there is a very obvious warmth and sense of purpose in the lyrics.  “Ride The Wave” has a crisp guitar riff that directs the song, with neatly taut drums and builds an intensity to the “orchestrated” chorus, which has a “spacey” feel; “In The Moment” switches directions and gets funky with a groove and straight dance beat (quite good) and subsequently, “Innocence” also has that get-down vibe (not too distant from …

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Review: Tortoise – The Catastrophist

Tortoise’s The Catastrophist, the mighty Chicago jazz-rock outfit’s first record in seven long years, will leave longtime listeners – after 25 years, there are many – in two minds of themselves. First off, there’s some solid material herein and that’s easy to notice. Why? Well, part of it’s obvious. In 2010, take it away Thrill Jockey PR people, “the group was commissioned by the City of Chicago to compose a suite of music rooted in its ties to the area’s noted jazz and improvised music communities.” End there for now. The spark lit quite the fire and tracks like “Shake Hands With Danger” and “The Clearing Fills” reveal the band in fine form. Stand-out “Shake Hands With Danger,” seemingly straight-forward with all of its slinking underbelly, stirs up quite a racket, indeed. Elsewhere, however, they can sound mediocre. Or, better put, mediocre on Tortoise terms. Here I’m looking at lazy genre twists like the vaguely surf-and-sway “At Odds With Logic,” which, while interesting, seems too obvious for the band to wrestle. Elsewhere, the band falls back …

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E.P. REVIEW: THE DUTCHESS AND THE FOX, “Every Night”

The first thing that makes you sit up and take notice of the opening track to The Dutchess And The Fox’s debut E.P., the title track, “Every Night” is singer Andrea Diaz’ breathy and tingling vocals, along with the haunting piano of Joe McGinty (sometime keyboardist for The Psychedelic Furs and regular at Joe’s Pub).  Every Night has five songs of a deep, dark, cinematic nature.  This is serious, refined music and powerful. Aside from the dramatic texture of “Every Night”, the melody is simple and heartbreakingly beautiful.  “Half Face Man” is a bit more uptempo with a raunchy sax carrying the undertone with very subtle percussion to keep the song taut and free from becoming kitsch-y; “St. Vitus” has a sweet, gentle texture with a nice touch of what sounds like oboes and vibes to elevate the melody.  “Blue River” is a perfect title that paints the track like a running stream of strings and keyboards in a waltz-like dreamy state and “Vice and Virtue” is as close to modern Gershwin as I can …

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All Hail The Legends of Et cetera

Every time I see something like Selena Gomez’s flat, tuneless, speak/sung SNL performance and think to myself, “seriously, THIS is the crap the kids are listening to these days!”, someone else comes along, kicks my ass, and makes me believe that the children are indeed the future… well, if we don’t fuck it up for them by electing some douchebag like Trump or Cruz. It shouldn’t matter that singer/songwriter/guitarist Serena Miller and her band, Legends of Et cetera, are still in high school, their music is pure, and it rocks. Their story, high school plot line and all, is truly worth telling, so here goes. They crushed their set at WTMD’s Baltimore Band Block Party and their song, ‘Give Up The Ghost’ is on regular rotation at the station. The station recently set them up with a gig at the airport of all places (see it on their facebook page). ‘Ghost’ deserves to be a national hit, the guitar line hooked me first and it’s been thundering out of my stereo ever since. When I picked up, Coyote, their …

SINGLE: Mel Monaco, “Single Again”

As a single person, the best part of Valentine’s Day is the day after… when all the candy is 50% off at Rite-Aid. A close second is the bevy of break-up, revenge, and soul-strengthening songs that seem to pop up around this time of year. Kinda makes you wonder how a holiday invented by greeting card companies ever got this polarizing. Hm. If you’re looking for your “hear me roar” anthem in time for V-Day, might I suggest Mel Monaco’s “Single Again.” The title is self explanatory, except instead of being a lament-filled tearjerker, Monaco’s telling her partner of choice that guess what! Their time is up. And the tone is anything but mournful, with its sultry blues-and-jazz-infused vocals. (Bonus points for the rockabilly-ish music video, too!) So, if you’re planning on dumping someone before the big day, do them a solid: send ’em this track and let ’em go.

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POPDOSE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE: WESTERN STAR, “Fireball”

Popdose is extremely pleased to present the premiere of Western Star’s official video, the title track of their debut album Fireball.  This fine band from Baltimore, who we introduced you to in early December, is heading out on the road for several upcoming dates: March 1st:  Frederick, MD – Guido’s Speakeasy March 2nd:  Athens, OH – Smiling Skull March 3rd:  Eaton, OH – The Stable Bar March 4th:  Chicago, IL – Reggie’s March 5th:  Kansas City, MO – Davy’s Uptown March 6th:  Lawrence , MO – Jackpot Music Hall So sit back and enjoy the balls-out rock & roll of Western Star… http://www.starsandcards.net/

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SINGLE REVIEW: NEZROK, “Beach People”

Can it get any better than this one track by Chris Korzen, who performs under the alias of Nezrok?  Well, yes – an album’s worth in this vein would, indeed, be a joy to listen to.  I’ll tell you later who some of the luminaries are who help make this three-minute power-pop masterpiece an instant classic.  But first, the facts… You can’t want or ask for better than this – and I have to admit, I almost let this one slip through the cracks – damn glad that I didn’t.  Catchy, slightly melancholic, wonderfully clever and obtuse lyrics and the vocals…  Sweet harmonies all around, wrapped in some deft guitar playing and tight, taut drumming.  Would it be fair to say that there’s maybe a pinch of my beloved Big Star in the influence?  Fuck yes. But here’s the obvious – aiding and abetting Mr. Korzen are the one and only Van Duren on vocals, Chris Bolger from R. Stevie Moore’s band on guitars and bass and the always-incredible Dennis Diken of The Smithereens on …

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E.P. REVIEW: STEREO OFF, “The Long Hot Winter”

Quite a dynamic mix of influences and sounds on this second effort from New York’s Stereo Off.  The Long Hot Winter is five songs of diversity, melody and some of the best production standards I’ve heard in years.  The balance and mix of everything is just right – guitars, drums, a throbbing bass, crisp vocals and bubbly synthesizers make a heady stew and gets you in its grasp immediately.  It has that vintage sound but the quality is in the now. Starting with “Hotel Mirror”, my first impression is an updated take on what The Human League were doing back in 1982; subsequently, “Automated” made me think of the better tracks by the League’s counterparts, Heaven 17 – audioscapes with funky guitars and multi-layered vocals.  Do I wax nostalgic?  Indeed I do, and enjoying every musical morsel this young band offers.  “Supercooler” spins it in a different direction; heavy on the drums and faster on the tempo in a mixture of Wire/Gang Of Four styles (albeit less abrasive) and “Redesign” rolls it all together, especially …

Popdose Premiere: FADES, “Breaking Through the Walls”

It’s a special privilege to premiere this incredible video from London-based alternative rock band FADES. Their sound is reminiscent of Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, and particularly Queens of the Stone Age (to whom their name is a partial homage). When it’s obvious how much time, devotion, and artistry a group of musicians puts into their craft, it deserves celebrating. Considering that FADES originally assembled to tour guitarist Joshua Woo’s solo project and evolved into a full-fledged operation because — gasp! — they actually enjoyed collaborating, it makes their sound that much sweeter. Now, they’re readying their new EP for its debut at Proud Camden in March. From first listen to their , you’ll be excited counting the days until it’s unleashed on the world. Until then, enjoy their single “Breaking Through the Walls” and its accompanying video, making their debut here on Popdose.

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BREAKING NEWS: JEFFERSON AIRPLANE CO-FOUNDER PAUL KANTNER DIES AT 74

In what seems to be a never ending river of sad news from the music world, Popdose has learned that Paul Kantner, singer/guitarist/songwriter for ’60’s psychedelic legends Jefferson Airplane (and their ’70’s sequel band, Jefferson Starship) has died at the age of 74.  The cause was multiple organ failure after having suffered a heart attack earlier in the week; he’d been in ill health for the last few years. With Jefferson Airplane, Mr. Kantner pioneered what became known as the San Francisco sound in the mid-1960s, with such hits as “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.” The Airplane was known for the vocal interplay of singers Marty Balin, Grace Slick and Mr. Kantner, the “psychedelic blues” developed by guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bass player Jack Casady and the LSD-spiked, ‘60’s-era countercultural/revolutionary themes in their lyrics.

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POPDOSE EXCLUSIVE SINGLE PREMIERE: MORGAN ST. JEAN, “Drown”

This new single is an eye-opener from Morgan St. Jean, who is currently enrolled in the Popular Music Program at the University of Southern California and studying under the likes of Patrice Rushen!  Ms. St. Jean’s sound is a well-tempered mix of pop structure mixed with some very deftly-placed theatrical flourishes; the song “Drown” is, indeed, quite a dramatic piece in a 3-minute, very radio friendly track.  The sound; the production is of high quality and her voice can induce chills in the best possible way; it’s sultry and achy and you can feel the emotion coming across very clearly. We’re also including the video to her last single and video, “Addicted” as a bonus, so you can enjoy even more. Check it out and stay tuned as Morgan St. Jean continues to release two more stand-alone tracks in the coming early months of 2016! http://morganstjean.com/index.html

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POPDOSE VIDEO PREMIERE: SOFIA TALVIK, “Starwalker”

Popdose is pleased to premiere the latest video from the talented and multi-faceted singer-songwriter, Sofia Talvik.  Taken from her acclaimed (deservedly so) album, Big Sky Country, this is a re-working of an old Buffy Sainte-Marie track and is one of the richest, image-laden pieces Ms. Talvik has delivered yet. Enjoy the video; enjoy the music and if you haven’t yet purchased the album, what are you waiting for? Big Sky Country is currently available Photo by Jonas Westin http://sofiatalvik.com/

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What’s THAT Supposed to Mean?: Tori Amos, “Caught a Lite Sneeze”

Boys on the left, boys on the right, Sister Ernestine, just bring your son? What’s THAT supposed to mean? Tori Amos wasn’t always so difficult to understand. Her solo debut, Little Earthquakes, was brilliant throughout — equal parts brooding (Crucify), accusatory (Precious Things), wistful (Winter and Mother) and giddy (Happy Phantom). It was accessible. And unexpected, especially if you saw her in her old group, Y Kant Tori Read, where she looked and sounded like a slightly angrier Debbie Gibson. The album Under the Pink brought in some musical and lyrical twists. Her music got most sophisticated as her lyrics went farther into abstraction. With God, she showed she knows her way around tricky time signatures as well as any prog-meister. Cornflake Girl was an unusual metaphor. Maybe a mixed metaphor, too — shouldn’t the raisins be over with the Raisin Bran, not the Corn Flakes? Oh, was that the point? In any case, Tori had established herself as a little enigmatic. Beavis and Butthead were intrigued, watching her caress rats and snakes in God: …

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Album Stream: Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons’ Homemade Vision

POPDOSE has been listening to Homemade Vision, the second album by Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, nearly round the clock for the past month. Spin after spin, the Michael Landolt-produced rocket ride soars higher onto my eventual Best Albums of 2016 list (their previous album, Hey Kid, landed high in my 2014 round-up). Thankfully, you don’t need to wait a year to hear my fancy pants aging hipster music critic review of it, take control and Rock & Roll right now. Stream it below — for a limited time — to give yourself a taste and then pick it up on iTunes or Amazon (digital). Want a CD? You should, I’m an old school (circa 1985), high fidelity guy myself. Get it direct from Angela’s store right here. While it’s easy to get lost in her midnight eyes or swoon over her signature vintage dresses and hats, don’t for a minute think this is a one woman show. Chris Connor (lead guitar), Billy Zehnal (bass) and a Spinal Tap’ian rotation of drummers help Perley deliver the goods on record and on stage …

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ALBUM REVIEW: MODOC, “Automatic + Voluntary”

The opening guitar attack of Modoc’s new album, Automatic + Voluntary, wakes you up like a splash of ice cold water – sounding like Mission Of Burma, then spinning into a perfectly executed glam-styled chorus.  So that bodes well for the sophomore effort for this band who originally hail from Muncie, Indiana but have since relocated to Nashville.    Catchy, taut, driving and powerful – there’s very little room to catch your breath; this is all a very good thing.  What’s more is that this full-bodied aural assault is coming from a three-piece, but they make it sound fuller and fatter.  Chops, well-crafted songs and harmonies are certainly the order of the day here. As I said, the first warning shots come straight from “Black Eyed Lover”, which is an inspired choice for the album opener; “Kids On The Run” starts off with a descending guitar figure which sounds oddly like The Beau Brummels’ “They’ll Make You Cry” but then picks up intensity and throttle and “Always The Same”, while a slightly slower tempo is tense …

POPDOSE PREMIERE: Angela Burns, “It’s Sad”

Growing up in Austin, Texas, in the late 1990s, Angela Burns drew influences from some of the most powerful female voices of the decade and the pop-punk, grunge and rock scenes of the time. Though now she’s only 21, her reinterpretation of women like Amanda Palmer is a refreshing throwback to a time that (I think?) can be now considered nostalgic. (Yes, that makes me feel as old as it makes you feel.) Nonetheless, it’s not like Burns is pulling skeletons out of the closet; her music is fresh, young, hip, and as radio ready today as it would have been 20 years ago. Check out the exclusive Popdose premiere of Angela Burns’ video for “It’s Sad” below, and be sure to keep up with her on Facebook. And listen to Burns’ track “Napoleon” on SoundCloud:

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Welcome To Pittsburgh #8: Horehound/T-Tops/Del Rios/Old Dream – Gooski’s, 1.08.16

Welcome to the firecrackers-strapped-to-your-Rust-Belt column “Welcome To Pittsburgh,” as today we find ourselves entranced by stars yet lamenting another fine night of noise at the Polish Hill dive bar/cheap beer institution Gooski’s. It’s been a week and change now and we just barely got sober enough to write this ourselves. Well, there was no clear frontrunner or headliner bathing in Gooski’s familiar blue and blood-red neon lights the other night, as a four-band bill of Pittsburgh troublemakers stormed the stage. While Popdose favorites T-Tops drew down the curtain in truly rollicking, drunken fashion with a handful of new songs and a shitload of energy, Horehound and Del Rios held their own and then some with sets full of venom and vigor, not to mention enough metallic and hard-rawk vitriol to keep the crowd knocked back on its heels. Old Dream opened the night with an enveloping set of trippy guitar loops, deceptively quiet glue. Del Rios’ songs like “Blood River” show why these guys are straddling an interesting intersection of the hard-rock, punk and metal scenes here …