Los Angeles pop singer-songwriter Lauren Waller has released a brand new album called Talking to Myself.
Talking To Myself delivers a bittersweet intoxicating cocktail of indie, synth, and pop capabilities, with fresh, forward-thinking sounds. Lauren nails it with playful invention, swagger, lyricism, introspection, and theatricality. From luminous dreamscape pop to catchy dance songs, Lauren’s emotionally generous storytelling and distinctive voice provide an antidote for the run-of-the-mill. Comparisons can be made with the likes of Lorde, Hayley and Kiyoko.
Her choruses are catchy and memorable in each song of this album, with the standout being Lauren’s hooks.
Singer, songwriter, and musician KALEN has become a Brooklyn mainstay during residencies at Alligator Lounge and Spike Hill, performing high-kicks and jumping off amps in kinetic kinship with the audience. She began by hauling her keyboard and amp up and down Bedford Ave, forging a sound rooted in soul, funk and electronic music.
Getting set to release her newest EP, Silence Like Sirens, her electro pop single “Phoenix” bounces with an anthem like piano hook and a chorus that elevates the overall message of redemption and healing. The chorus is bound the get stuck in your head as you find yourself singing it throughout the day. It’s reminiscent of Madonna, both in her vocals and pop musical style.
“Phoenix” was named after a friend’s second child after losing her first. “I couldn’t fathom the pain they went through. Now, as a mother myself, it’s even more difficult to imagine,” shares KALEN. “I love the way the bridge really came to life on this one with that rhythm section! The most magical thing that happened on this song, though, was the choir that sang on the choruses! Maggie Collier arranged sick BVs and led 6 incredible singers. I was 8 months pregnant and the world was about to shut down, but we didn’t quite know it yet. We were all talking about whether or not we should hug goodbye (which we did).”
She’s performed at Brooklyn Bowl, Rough Trade, & Joe’s Pub, DC9 (Washington D.C.) and Hotel Café & The Mint (LA). During the pandemic, KALEN brought us into her world streaming her moody tunes in late night solo sessions. Performing live again KALEN tailors each performance (and the accompanying visuals) to the specific site and space, from analog slide projectors coupled with poetry and acoustic bands in Brownstoner salons to projection mapping and thumping tracks with a full electric band on stages around NYC.
Nature Loves Courage takes the bounds of genre and blurs the lines, creating sounds with instrumentation and electronic elements. After years spent solo, bassist Jacob Bergman and drummer Garrett Smith join McKenna as LA-based Nature Loves Courage, the electronic art-rock group bending entire genres to their will. Out summer ’22, their self-titled debut confronts the absurdities of the digital age, proposing a brave return to humanity’s fabled roots atop McKenna’s multifaceted sound.
Their latest single “Dark Horse” and the accompanying video is going to be what makes their mark. It’s mysterious and aids in the story of the song. The red lighting with the horse imagery and the band coming in and out of frame helps create this space that’s unknown and intriguing.
We got a chance to speak with McKenna Rowe, the band’s front woman, about the video for “Dark Horse”:
Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically in this way?
This song was inspired by friends of mine exploring the polyamory scene and their stories about their experiences. The arrangement and feel to this song is dark and mysterious, as if it could serve as the soundtrack in a movie with a scene with a swingers’ club or party. For the video, we chose not to literally depict such a scene, due to the complexity of hiring so many extras, and with the goal of not being quite so literal. Instead, we decided to allow some more room for interpretation on the part of the viewer, depicting the band going into a “dream state” or “surreal dimension” when the song kicks off.
What was the inspiration behind this video?
The biggest influences behind the video concept are David Lynch and graphic novels. I have always loved how David Lynch depicts different dimensions of existence or timelines his characters move through. In nods to Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive, our video shows the discovery of a mysterious object that then “sucks” you into dream-like dimension, where the band appears to be trapped, eventually “spinning out of control” until the “escape” at the end…although we don’t really know if the ending is a return to “normalcy” or a teleportation into yet another strange dimension. The blacked out background and intense red color on subjects are also influenced a lot by Lynch’s choice of cinematography and lighting, and how we framed my face in many shots was influenced by how you might see a story depicted in comic book panels.
What was the process of making this video?
A big thank you to director Alyssa of Holy Smoke Photography (and assistant Claire!), who was able to take some tricky abstract ideas and translate into the finished product! She and I met before the shoot to discuss concepts…I made it clear that creating a mood was more important to me than telling a literal story with start-middle-end. Alyssa put together a shot list which is extremely helpful for a band to have…we had a good idea of how the day would go and what to expect. We used Peerspace (shout out!) to rent out a stage in Boyle Heights that had the blackout capability we needed to be able to achieve the surreal, red look to everything. Another thing we did was shoot some of the video performing the song at 150% speed, so that when it was slowed down to match the normal speed of the song, our motions themselves would seem more surreal. Alyssa also sometimes used a prism in front of the camera lens to create interesting transitions/effects. We went through about 3 revisions of edits to the video until we reached our final. I think it turned out very well considering the limited time, budget and resources and the fact that this was our first time making a music video. Personally, I learned a lot from the experience… have lots of ideas for the next video and how to set up shots so that I photograph best.