Latimer House – “Birdcage Walk / Until Then”

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The Fall is always my favorite time to discover new music. Perhaps it has something to do with the relaxing feel of the cooler weather, but it seems to get me excited for new music and new bands. Recently I have been falling for the indie pop sounds of Latimer House. The group have just released a phenomenal 7-inch single for “Birdcage Walk,” with the b-side “Until Then,” which you can purchase on translucent  red vinyl. 

Upon first listen to “Birdcage Walk,” I was already head over heels. Singer Joe Cook’s Prague accent is very prominent, which is a nice departure from the norm. They remind me of a foreign Bishop Allen, which I adore. The guitar hooks are vibrant and memorable and the mandolin makes a perfect add-on in the song. Getting into the b-side “Until Then,” Latimer House provides a bit of a different approach, with punchy guitars and a few sing-talk lines. Making its way into the track is a slight horn section, that gives the song an extra ‘oomph,’ so to speak. The song’s sonically alluring tones are definitely an added bonus.

Latimer House have recently released their new record, All the Rage, via their own label Honk Records. Be sure to check out the Summery / Strokes-esque track “Splash!,” as well when you head over. Chiming guitars and heavenly harmonies. What more can you ask for? It is well worth the listen!Check out Latimer House “Birdcage Walk,” HERE.

Check out Latimer House “Until Then,” HERE.
 
Grab the latest record, All the Rage, via Bandcamp

QVALIA Releases “This Is The Color Of My Dreams”

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Immediately drawn in by the name, meet QVALIA. Newcomers to the New York scene, the group formed in 2014, and have just released their debut album, This Is The Color Of My Dreams, earlier this week. My ears were certainly pleased, that’s for sure. 7-tracks fill the record, and my only regret is that there aren’t more songs…just yet at least.

Invoking a bit of CHVRCHES flare, QVALIA sure does deliver. The catchy and brilliant piece “Sound the Alarm,” kick off the record with a powerful force of synths, pianos, and ASTONISHING vocal work from singer Michael Hazani. Tracks such as  “Breach,” offer a new twist on a nostalgic 80s sound. The musicianship seems extremely smooth and appears to come naturally to the band.

“Stardust,” takes the record down with darker undertones which are wrapped in the arms of sugary harmonies and heart-wrenching vocals. “I Won’t Let Go,” brings the dance party back into full force, which is a track I have been blaring endlessly from my stereo speakers. The instrumentation is stunning on every level and it is almost hard to believe the band have only just begun.  This is the work of seasoned musicians. “The Feel of Not to Feel It,” and “White Bones” evoke the sounds of the 80s without hesitation as it recalls powerhouse synths that are prominent and unforgettable. Closing out the record is “150,” a slow and heartfelt way to end the collection of songs. Check out QVALIA’s This Is The Color Of My Dreams, as it will not disappoint.

 

Grab the album on Bandcamp HERE

Watch the album trailer HERE.

Introducing: Rival Empire

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Recently I have discovered a stellar group hailing from Chicago, IL by the name of Rival Empire.  Creating a synth-pop meets indie rock meets electro dance sound all of their own, the group takes a page from such bands as Cut Copy, The Killers and Friendly Fires, with a dab of Duran Duran to boot. Rival Empire have recently released their video for “Reagan’s Rancho Del Cielo” which had me immediately hooked and ready to dive into the recent self-titled full length.

On Rival Empire, the record features 13 electrifying tracks that subtly blend genres, to create a dance party on its own terms. The record opener “Cameo Crush,” stopped me dead in my tracks. The vibrancy of guitars and synths that blend are surrounded by singer Steve Rivera’s smooth and prominent vocals. Songs like “Casio Crush,” which bursts with modern sounds and 80’s nostalgia respectively, helps set the tone for the record.

An immediate stand out song and favorite proves to be “Calling Me,” which takes the record to a whole new level. The dreamy vocal combinations with slight harmonies are heavenly and is laced with melodic hooks. Songs like “Good Love,” “Tidal Wave,” and “Open Fire,” add a deeper, darker element to the album, while  “Reagan’s Rancho Del Cielo,” and “High Fashion,” take you on wild musical journey. “Call the Adapter,” and  “Paybacks a B___h” adds a funkier element into the album, making a nice transition in to blending genres. Something that Rival Empire does flawlessly. “Calling Me (Orchestral Remix)” closes out the record, making Rival Empire, an album to remember for 2014.

Grab the album on BANDCAMP

Check out the video for “Reagan’s Rancho Del Cielo” HERE.

“The Past is a Grotesque Animal”…Yes, yes it is.

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Over the weekend I had finally watched the long awaited of Montreal documentary, The Past is a Grotesque Animal. I was hesitant to view this film for quite some time, as I thought it would destroy my perception of front man and songwriter Kevin Barnes. This proved to be an eye opening experience for sure. The film highlights the band’s career from the very start. Seeing all of the old footage of how the group came to be was rather charming and delightful. The behind the scenes footage was certainly a treat as well. Their vibrancy and quirkiness definitely shined straight from the screen. Every aspect of the band was touched upon. From troubling relationships, to the brilliant artwork and stage performance antics of brother David Barnes and co., it proved to be truly insightful. 

Throughout all of the good times and struggles the band often continued with, the film focused quite a bit on Kevin Barnes’ inner demons. The depression, the anxiety, the need to make ‘good art,’ no matter at what cost. The one problem though, is the need to make ‘good art,’ lead to the departure of longtime and key players Dottie Alexander, James Husband, Bryan Poole (B.P.), alongside Matt Dawson and Davey Pierce respectively.

The thing that struck me most was how easily Barnes removed himself from them to make a complete musical transformation. What came to be one of the most celebrated band of the 00’s, has changed into so many forms that there feels like there is something missing, especially in a live setting. The ever exciting line up during onstage dance parties are something that I, as well as many fans, truly miss. Though change can be good sometimes, The Past is a Grotesque Animal, made Barnes out to have villain tendencies. Whether or not this was the intention, it was an extremely fascinating look into a phenomenal band that has hit home with so many listeners over the past several years. 

I don’t think I will ever stop buying of Montreal records. Kevin’s songs have always struck a chord with me. This certainly gives me a different perspective into the world of of Montreal.

Album Review – Voxmirage

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Voxmirage is the group you have been looking for. Recently releasing their debut album on July 15, the duo are about to take the world by storm. The self-titled record is filled with 13 glorious tracks that recall new wave influences such as Tears for Fears and Depeche Mode. Made up of members Mike Streng (Vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards), and Aaron Nicholes (Drums, Keyboards, programming, backing vocals and bass), they create quite a unique and brilliant sound. The record is also stunningly mixed and produced by Ken Stingfellow of  The Posies and R.E.M. respectively., and mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London.

Kicking off the record is a short, sweet, and synth filled song that is simply titled “Intro.” This piece immediately sets the tone for the record. “All I Want Is You,” combines lush harmonies and dark sounds alongside a swirling bed of synthesizers and guitars. Streng’s vocals start to standout immediately, which carries throughout the entire record. His voice is very powerful, and evokes great emotion on the set on of songs.

“I Can’t Take It Anymore Than This,” continues the greatness of the record, with honest and heartfelt lyrics. Streng’s vocals are soft yet pierce your very soul. Streng’s vocals are dreamy and haunting all at once. Taking the record down a notch is “Hold On,” which showcases the softer and gentler side of the band. Laced with synthesized strings, the vocals chime in to launch a whole new musical aspect of the record. “Never Go Away,” shares a bit of a 90’s retro feel, in a flattering way. The vibrant and danceable aspect of the track is brought to life with lovely twee-like harmonies and punchy acoustic guitars.

“She’s Going Away,” brings a darker synth sound into the album, with a bit of welcomed industrial flare. The tracks on this record quickly prove that Voxmirage are not only skilled, but can bend and combine genres without flaw. “Want Me Too,” and “Just a Fool,” the latter featuring backing vocals by Ken Stringfellow, displays the group’s softer and subdued side on the record. Again the harmonies grace these tracks, which made them an immediate favorite for me. “Just for Tonight,” adds a whole new element into the record with engaging vocals, and an array of instruments welcoming even the slightest trumpet. “On I Go With You,” brings out another beautiful side of this record, as Streng’s vocals are heavenly.

 Bringing back the dance aspect of the record with a punch is “Favorite Son.” Flooded with enchanting synths, this piece will surely get you onto the dance floor and it clearly showcases the group’s knack for writing a great pop-esque song. Up next is “Go Insane,” which is Voxmirage’s take on Lindsey Buckingham’s classic song, which somehow manages to upstage the original with their incredible rendition. It brings all of their musical talents into the spotlight. Closing out the record is “I Know What Scares You.” The piece brings together various different elements we found throughout the record, bringing everything to fruition.

Voxmirage’s Voxmirage is a brilliant debut album that will certainly launch the duo into the spotlight. With heavy hitting and memorable tracks, each piece on the record somehow manages to outdo the other. Hopefully we hear a lot more of Voxmirage in the future. This is only the beginning….and the beginning is great.

 

The Eccentric Roswitha Plays The Blue Note on 8/29

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ROSWITHA will be playing a highly anticipated show, celebrating her DVD release at The Blue Note in New York City. The show will be showcasing selections from her album DESTINY and featuring special surprise guests, her musical friends and collaborators on the NYC music scene.

21+ / $10 in Advance / $15 at Door. Tickets are available via The Blue Note website, here.

ROSWITHA is an Austrian-born and raised American violinist, singer-songwriter and producer. Her latest release, DESTINY, has been critically acclaimed and has garnered comparisons to the likes of Sia, Sade, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Björk, Florence and the Machine, Les Nubians, Stevie Nicks among others. DESTINY has been listed in several Grammy categories for nomination consideration in 2013.

Roswitha mixes gorgeous violin playing alongside her sultry vocals. With an infectious blend of jazz, classical, R&B, hip hop, rock and pop, Roswitha creates music that appeals to the masses, which transcends to the stage flawlessly.

 Roswitha has had an esteemed career as “Queen Rose.” She was featured on MTV’s Unplugged with Trey Songz, and as a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas, she performed with the likes of John Legend, Santana, Gloria Estefan and Patti LaBelle. Under the name “Rose Bartu,” she built a highly respected jazz profile and issued the delightfully exotic Cherchez la Verité, a silky jazz album with violin, sensual vocals, and limber Afro Cuban grooves. Roswitha has lead her own bands, performing at celebrated venues like The Blue Note, Knitting Factory and touring Europe. She has notched over 50 production, arrangement, composition, and performance credits on over 19 released albums, videos and film soundtracks.