I will be posting just a short note today for the Singapore-France duo Cravism x Maya Diegel. They have released their ‘Caryatid’ and ‘Ladies’ Night’ singles via Komplex Recordings with a video that features both songs.
The two singles are in a stunning video mix blending created by Arthur Etienne and Thibaut Vega. Several weeks ago, the duo released the first single, ‘It’s Okay,’ with soulful and jazzy textures laid over lush, mellow jazz hip hop beats, transporting the listener into a chilled relaxing realm.
Out in full on October 22, the ‘Caryatid EP‘ project entails a staggered release of a track every three weeks with accompanying films, in addition to a series of online live performances of these compositions.
Enjoy, I will be back with another installment in three weeks.
I am stuck in a rut. Being stuck in a rut is not where I want to be. It is not where I want to be. It is, however, where I find myself, and I need to address that.
Where is the rut, you may ask? The rut in question emerged from the nether regions of Glasgow. I have never been to Glasgow, so it may sound like a stretch to blame Glasgow for my predicament. I do not hold a grudge against the city of Glasgow. I am sure it is as good of a place as anywhere. The fact remains that the rut started there and is now accosting me.
The rut in question has travelled across the Atlantic Ocean and then across 3/4’s of North America. It is an impressive rut by any standard.
So here I sit with this groove from Glasgow tormenting me. It has been growing in my office for three days now. And I don’t know what to do with it. I suppose I could start by telling you the driving force behind this unusual predicament that I find myself in.
It all started with half a dozen Glaswegians getting together making some music and got a groove going on. The groove in question is the fifth full-length album from The Kundalini Genie.
You too? Yeah, I had to go and look up what the hell a Kundalini is. Apparently it is some spiritual force in Hindu, Yogic and Buddhist teachings. There is more than one way to practice the Kundalini spirituality, but I wager that listening to good music is one path.
Today we will focus on the Genie method of Kundalini. The Kundalini Genie involves singer-songwriter Robbie Wilson, on sitar, guitar, and vocals.
We also have Jason Houston on guitar and more vocals.
Melissa Rennie plays guitar, keys and adds her vocals.
Lloyd Ledingham contributes bass and vocals.
Louis Martin plays guitar and, yes, more vocals.
My goodness, they are competing against the Mormon Tabernacle Choir with everybody singing. Everyone except the drummer, Grant Robertson. I bet he sings, but they don’t mic it. Maybe he is more of the shower stall singer variety. Nothing wrong with that. Heck, I even sound better singing in the shower, and I can’t carry a song in a bucket.
Now that everyone is accounted for let’s talk about the music that dug a trench from Glasgow to my office in Canada’s hinterlands. Scottish psychedelic rock’n’roll outfit The Kundalini Genie has announced they will release their fifth studio album ‘Half In, Half Out’ by the end of 2021, following up their ’11:11′ album via SpaceRanch Records (Europe) and Little Cloud Records (USA) in 2020. Ahead of this, they present the title track ‘Half In, Half Out,’ a robust offering to whet our appetites for the long-player.
“This song is about assholes, really. People who aren’t nice. People who think they’re better than you, or too cool for you, or higher and mightier than you, it’s also about when those people inevitably fall short of their own high opinion of themselves and make themselves look a fool, in a nutshell,” says Robbie Wilson.
What can I say? That is straight from the horse’s mouth. A song about assholes. That got real super fast, I can’t wait to know what the remainder of the album sounds like with the opener blasting out of the studio with a song about buttholes.
It doesn’t matter much what the song is about, the simple fact remains that I can’t stop listening to this offering from Glasgow, The Kundalini Genii and the single Half In, Half Out.
What makes this so attractive to me? It could be intelligent lyrics, good writing scores big marks with me. It is beyond doubt within the music. They channel so many bands and music styles that I could keep writing all day about The Kundalini Genie’s sound. The psychedelic rock, smooth retro pop, amazing vocals, they check all the boxes, all of them. But I can not put The Kundalini Genie in a box. They need to be set free, and that is what happened. Someone in Glasgow, it is highly probable that all of the members of The Kundalini Genie were involved, and they started digging a groove of their own. Geography could not contain that groove, and it found its way to my listening post, and here I am, in a rut.
I sincerely hope the same thing happens to you when you hear what this band has going on. It is magical. Now quit reading and listen to The Kundalini Genie and the single Half In, Half Out. While you are doing that I am going to start plotting how I can get across the pond and hear this band live.
It is early September, and the crisp winds and cooler temperatures tell us that autumn isn’t far away. It arrives on September 22nd this year. Growing up, this meant that we were going back to school after the Freedom of the summer holidays.
September also meant the arrival of the Christmas wish books from Sears and Eaton’s. We were not rich, but through the magic of wishing, we experienced the freedom of making any object in the catalogue come to life and be our plaything for as long as we could keep the catalogue away from our siblings.
Dublin-based Kilkenny-born indie-pop artist Cat Dowling will release an album this fall via FIFA Records. While we wait for the album, we have the freedom to explore Cat Dowling’s new single, Freedom and let our imaginations take us to beautiful places where we can run and laugh and dance and be free.
Dowling also presents the video for ‘Freedom,’ created by Alba Lahoz. When Covid restrictions were momentarily lifted in Ireland, Cat’s three free-spirited tearaway children do their thing, showing that Freedom is a space inside us that can never be tamed.
“Sometimes we think big. Sometimes we think small. Sometimes we think with all we have got. When we have limited access to other humans, the humans closest to us are the most important humans of all,” says Cat Dowling.
“This video was filmed on a bitingly cold December afternoon when the light was sparse, winds howled, and the skies randomly opened. We managed to find the sun, fell in love with the wind and forgot about the camera. It was mainly filmed on Donabate beach and Dollymount Strand in Dublin. Freedom is best explained and expressed in childhood when there are no limitations, everything is possible, and we are free to be truly ourselves”.
Freedom’s out now, available everywhere digitally, including Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp. Fans can expect Cat Dowling‘s next long-player to be released in November of this year.
The loss of permafrost will have drastic long-term effects on our planet.
The addition of Permafrost is having a dramatic impact on my Apple Music Library. I have put the single, Restore Us, from the band Permafrost, on an endless loop as I write. The single Restore Us is from the soon-to-be-announced album Fear of Music, which is the title of one of my all-time favourite albums. It is, of course, the Talking Heads that I allude to, and Permafrost have cited the Talking Heads as an influencer for their music.
Permafrost is making a comeback after a hiatus. Formed in Norway in 1982, they were active during the first post-punk wave and finally, we can all join them in this exciting new wave. The band has also grown to include British keyboardist Daryl Bamonte, who took the video footage for their new single ‘Restore Us’ while on the road with Depeche Mode for their Music For The Masses tour.
I drove through New York state and loved every kilometre of the journey. There were scenic and historical rest areas all along the highways and byways. However, we didn’t stop for a proper visit in New York, city or state. That leaves the door open for us to return and take in at least some of what we missed driving through New York.
We didn’t encounter any Ghosts of New York State. On the other hand, I enjoy listening to Ghosts of New York State, the new single released today by Will Graefe and Jeremy Gustin, who make beautiful music under the nom de plume Star Rover.
“The seed of ‘Ghosts of New York State‘ began with the fingerpicked riff, which alternates between 6/4 and 7/4 meters throughout. We wanted this song to communicate the numb and dislocated feeling of the words while maintaining a propulsive groove and nervous energy. The burst of colour in the middle represents a kind of blinding epiphany. This song is about family and the weight we carry, sometimes unknowingly and unconsciously. The end mantra is ” The ghost, the host. The ghost, my host,” says Will Graefe.
There is also an excellent video based on the song Ghosts of New York State:
I will give a broader account of Star Rover on October 15, when the LP will be released. As of August 31, ‘Ghosts of New York State‘ will be available across digital platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. The ‘Star Rover‘ LP will be released on October 15 and pre-ordered via Bandcamp.
I don’t usually promote singles, lonely songs, not lonely people.
However, I will make an exception to that self-proclaimed rule today. I present ThatChitty Bang Majik and Escalator for your listening pleasure, two singles that kick-started my morning.
ThatChitty Bang Majik is a new single by a band that left an indelible impression on me back in May of this year when I posted my thoughts about their single and video Bluebird, Hollywood… Domino. That band is The Gorstey Lea Street Choir.
I still enjoy listening to them, and this new release only adds to my desire to own slabs of vinyl by them.
I am at a loss for words that describe what my ears are hearing when I listen to this song, so I will let The Gorstey Lea Street Choir, which is Michael Clapham and Russ Phillips, speak for themselves.
“The song came about last January after a Christmas repeat that we had both watched of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ Michael Clapham tells us.
‘We love the film and the soundtrack, and we started discussing ‘the flying car” and before you know it ‘…That Chitty Bang Magic‘ was born,” says Russ Phillips.
“This song represents the poppier side of our indie credentials whilst still retaining our core vibe, 12 string guitars chime alongside brass punctuations and Moog synths, with the two vocal Gorstey chant upfront, telling the story of the track. We are really looking forward to folks hearing the rest of the LP in early July when it arrives, the four new tracks and the four re-imaginations of ‘Extended Play One’ tracks by Choque from Black Star Liner,” says Michael Clapham.
I concur with really looking forward to hearing the rest of the LP in July when it is released.
As of June 22, ‘That Chitty Bang Majik‘ will be available everywhere digitally, including Apple Musicand Spotify. Additionally, the ‘…from Prince’s Park to Farsley – Volume I’ LP will see its release on July 9.
This music should garner The Gorstey Lea Street Choir extended air time no matter the format or delivery platform. Just listen to it is all I am saying. It is that good. I will put it on repeat, sip my beverage of choice and sit back to enjoy every nuance of The Gorstey Lea Street Choir.
Wow, I got carried away with that review. I need to get some words in this blog for the second single of the day. Phoenix-based dream-electronic artist FLDPLN presents his new single Escalator previewing his full-length album by the same name. Scheduled for release on July 30, it will be digitally available and on colour vinyl via the label Sillas Famosas.
FLDPLN (“field-plan”) is the new solo project of Andrew Saks, former frontman of Southern California shoegaze band Sway. As FLDPLN, he creates a primarily electronic project with songs that feature synthesizers, vocals and layered saxophones reminiscent of 80s pop.
“Escalator is really the result of my years of dabbling in electronic music production combined with my desire to reconnect with my roots, having been a saxophone player for most of my life,” says Andrew Saks.
“For this album, I wanted to write songs that are true to the way I hear things in my head, dreamy, blurry, beautiful without compromise and incorporate the horn as a textural instrument as well as another melodic voice.”
At times, Andrew Saks horn playing features soaring leads that lift the dreamlike and serene to near-anthemic heights while, in other instances, they convey an emotional, whisper-like voice. While certainly nowhere near new to experimental music, the tone and texture of the saxophone in this context effectively lends itself to ethereal lullabies and reflective daydreams.
While textures and sound are an integral component of the music, Andrew Saks does not shy away from hook-laden songwriting. This music is highly influenced by Andrew Saks childhood memories of going to bed with Walkman headphones on and later waking up in the darkness, in a partial dream-state with the pop songs of the 1980’s – Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Bruce Springsteen, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, Debbie Gibson, Human League still whispering in his ears.
The ‘Escalator’ single is now available everywhere across online stores like Apple Music and streaming platforms like Spotify. The entire ‘Escalator’ LP will release on July 30 and can already be pre-ordered digitally and on colour vinyl via Bandcamp.
If I have a new review or two, it must be Friday, the day that new music drops regularly. So much music and so little time, a delightful conundrum.
First up is Slow Down Molasses, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Only a six-hour drive away from me, in Canada, that makes them practically next-door neighbours.
The press handout for Slow Down Molasses called them post-punk, which nailed it as far as genre names go. They have an exciting blend of grinding crunching guitar soundbites that jump out of intelligent lyrics and pleasant layered synth, driving bass and perfect percussion.
I would drive the six hours to hear them play live. However, in the Covid-19 times that we find ourselves in, I will content myself with listening to them over and over on Apple Music. The single “Street Haunting” was released today, April 9th, via Divine Schism.
Paintroller doesn’t show up as a song title very often; https://genius.com/ only had three songs with paintroller in the title. There will be four as of Friday, April 9, 2021, the music group Hands Down, fronted by Filip Sjögren, will be dropping their new single with the title “Paintroller” on that day.
Sjögren took 2020 off from his vocation as a sound technician and producer to focus on creating music with his band Hands Down, a good call considering how that year unfolded.
The song “Paintroller” builds on the firm foundation of their first single “, Too Late”. “Paintroller” opens with Deep raucous percussive hits that segue into smooth as silk keys and synths, which lead us to the lyrical content. Filip Sjögren tells us, “The song about being coloured by everyone else”, says Sjögren, “and having your own ideas crushed by outside forces. Not feeling very welcome to the party, both in terms of music and society, feeling peer pressure. That’s what inspired the song. I had the whole song done at one point, and then I scrapped the vocal and wrote and recorded a whole new melody and vocal. That demo was called ‘paintroller’, and so that inspired me to write the new lyrics. I have no idea why that demo was called paintroller. But it is a very visual word”.
There are jazz elements woven into the fabric of the song and strings that would not be out of place in a movie soundtrack. “Paintroller” certainly showcases Filip Sjögren’s familiarity with music construction and how to bring all the diverse parts together to create a beautiful song. Well done, Mr Sjögren, well done.
‘Paintroller’will be available to stream from April 9 via Hands Down’s label Youth Recordings. While you wait for that, you can check this out: