Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scotch Hollow

(New York) Kansas City, MO blues rock band Scotch Hollow has just dropped its sophomore album, Little Tortugacotch. Scotch Hollow is a roots band that mixes a generous helping of country twang with just enough blues to stir the pot. The group was founded by Mark Verbeck (guitar, songwriter) and vocalist Carly Martin, who met at the Berklee School of Music. Based in Kansas City, MO (after kicking around the Chicago scene for a time), the group now includes JD Linn (bass), Benjamin Scholz (drums, percussion), Brady Buster (harmonica) and Joel Schuman (piano). Verbeck wrote all but three songs and those were written by Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf and Blind Willie Johnson. The performances are as solid and spare as one would expect for this style of music. They certainly can raise a little sand in the down-home way.

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Kendra Black

(New York) Introducing emerging NYC-based pop star, Kendra Black, who gets onto the airwaves with her new single featuring Snoop Dogg, “Rude” from her debut EP, The Edge. Armed with LA’s Trend Def Studios (French Montana, Rich the Kid), as producers, style, and looks that kill, and all that attitude, Black is set to come roaring onto the scene with The Edge on March 10, 2017.

Born and bred in Italy, Black grew up studying music as well as acting and ballet. She trained and performed with teachers from the Music Conservatory of Cannes (France) and from The Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan. After graduating from the Kirov Academy of Ballet of Washington DC in 2012, Black relocated to New York City where she put together her team of producers and band members. She collaborated on song co-writes with Bravo’s Platinum Hit finalist Nick Nitolli and Grammy-nominated singer/producer Lachi, and teamed up with the producers at Trend Def Studios in Los Angeles. The resulting product is Black’s new five-track EP, The Edge, which she plans to release on March 10th this year.
Black has performed on stages in France, Monte-Carlo, Italy, Egypt, the Caribbean, and the US. Her most recent performance was headlining at Webster Hall Studio in NYC, which was hosted by Hot 97’s Laura Stylez.
Be sure to check out emerging artist, Kendra Black, and her "Rude" single from debut EP, The Edge, out on all digital sites on March 10, 2017. Stay tuned for more details on her NYC CD Release Show on March 8th at Highline Ballroom, her new videos, shows and more!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Kin

(New York) The Kin are saying farewell to the music industry...for now. After 10+ years of creating and performing their music for millions around the world, the alternative rock trio is announcing that their next album, entitled Modern Primitive, will be their last. This album is their 8th commercial release and the follow up to their 2013 Get On It EP, which they put out on Interscope and earned them a gold record in New Zealand. This album marks the culmination of this seasoned group’s career whose highlights include a record deal with Interscope, playing arenas opening for Coldplay, Rod Stewart, and Pink, and acquiring loyal fans throughout the US and Australia and everywhere in between.

Modern Primitive also symbolizes exactly who The Kin are today. Raw, high-energy, and 100% authentic. They consider themselves “outcasts” in a world of lip-syncing and computerized drumbeats since they insist on playing and singing every note, both live and recorded. They recruited world-renowned mixer, Jon Castelli, who mixed albums for Macklemore, Ariana Grande, Cher and Lady Gaga, to help produce the album in a way that captures the energy the trio have built on stage. MP is also the first album that the trio have recorded with their drummer, Shakerleg.

The band was originally formed by brothers Isaac and Thorald Koren from Adelaide, Australia, and later joined by NYC drummer Mark “Shakerleg” Nicosia whom they discovered in a Times Square subway station. Their performances drew astonishment from crowds, with Shakerleg creating the beat with his bare hands (often bleeding through his boxing tape by the end of the night) while the brothers Koren sang with raw passion and emotion. Their intense “heart-on-sleeve” songwriting spoke to many, and their fanbase continued to grow. Their music charted in the US, Australia, and New Zealand, and their songs landed on national TV shows, films, and the Super Bowl. They also performed live on numerous radio and TV talk shows throughout the US, including Sirius XM, iHeart Radio, Voice of America and Conan.

Despite their chart and commercial success and captivating live audiences worldwide, The Kin still felt that they remained lost in the shuffle among hipsters and DJs. Unswayed by the current of popular music, The Kin have stubbornly dropped their own anchor in a sea of riptides. Their single, Anchor, describes this sentiment, while their focus track, Ashes, captures the strength of the phoenix that rises at the end of a struggle.

Born of a mix of frustration and curiosity for expression, The Kin began what they called musical robberies – storming into public places, such as dinners, shopping malls, and airports, before holding the crowd up for a song and leaving unannounced after a passionate serenade. The Kin eventually left Interscope to forge their own path in recording and producing their own music and other artists.

Their Modern Primitive album is The Kin’s final offering which celebrates what makes them unique and expresses all of their emotions harbored over the years. Shakerleg says, “[Castelli] really took the time with us in the studio to hone the sounds and recording techniques. This album is worth the wait and worth listening to the whole way through."

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(Los Angeles) Cody Crump is back with a new EP, Hola, due out March 17th on Binasaur Records. In the wake of Crump’s last EP, Death, which released on May 5, 2015. The 5 tracks that comprise Hola take the listener on an unconventional journey through a relationship - no awkwardness spared, no vulnerability hidden. The bittersweet honesty of the lyrics pair with feel-good synths and fuzzy vocals. Obscure Sounds calls Crump “an act with a smart melodic ear and eclectic stylistic reach” and this release shows the range of exactly how vast that reach expands.

With help from his friend Danz of Computer Magic on “Friendzone” and from LA-based actress Alexandra Lemosle, who provided the vocals in French, this collection of songs highlights the space between cultures and languages and how that affects our interactions with people in our daily lives. The entire EP only took a couple of months to make and Crump recorded everything at home, then tracked drums with close friend, Jason Ganberg to wrap up the tracks.

What’s really exciting about this EP is that we are getting a taste of Cody Crump’s sense of humor like never before. Kick Kick Snare reported on Crump’s history, reporting: “A primarily self-taught musician, Crump was kicked out of the school band and choir for bad jokes, and impeached as his junior class president for getting arrested (all true).” Especially on tracks such as “French Kiss,” we’re able to take glimpse into the amusement that most definitely distracted his school band and choir peers until his teachers had enough of being upstaged.

After playing many of LA’s staple venues - from Soho House to The Roxy to The Standard, Cody Crump has plans to tour in the very near future. You’ll also be able to hear his music in the upcoming film “The List.” He has had music featured on HBO's "Leftovers,"  Showtime's "Penny Dreadful, and most recently his song "Burn" was in ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder."


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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Fast Romantics

(New York) "Why We Fight" is the new single from Toronto 6-piece Fast Romantics. "Why We Fight" is taken from the band’s forthcoming album (set for release in Spring, 2017). Both are released via Light Organ Records/Postwar Records.

Anthemic in the truest sense, "Why We Fight" rushes with an energy akin to early music from fellow Canadian indie-rockers Arcade Fire, but with lashings of raw Bruce Springsteen-esque fire. It's perhaps of no surprise, given the Springsteen comparison, that "Why We Fight" was born at a time of political turmoil, written as the US election campaign was underway.

However, "Why We Fight" is not a protest song, in the traditional sense. It is perhaps best described as the reflections of a non-American songwriter living close to the border, hyper-aware of the US and its influence over Canada and the world. It's a song about being hungry for something and fighting for it through the chaos that can be beyond our control.

As Fast Romantics songwriter, singer and guitarist Matthew Angus explain: "'Why We Fight' started out as a song about myself, about what it is that drives me to even be in a band in the first place. But it quickly evolved into an ode to anyone who finds themselves hungry for something that might seem out of reach.”

Fast Romantics have previously released the album Afterlife Blues (2013) which received much acclaim in North America, with glowing press reviews and climbing chart positions at commercial radio. They have received many accolades including "Pop Group of the Year" at the Sirius XM Indies (2014) and more recently their song "Julia" - also taken from forthcoming third album – won the prestigious  SOCAN National Songwriting Prize (2016).

Why We Fight is produced by the dynamic duo of Gus Van Go and Werner F (Arkells, Wintersleep, Whitehorse). It is released digitally on 27 January. Fast Romantics forthcoming album, from which Why We Fight is taken, follows in Spring 2017. Both released via Light Organ Records/Postwar Records.

Fast Romantics are Matthew Angus (lead singer, guitar), Jeffrey Lewis (bass), Kirty (vocals, acoustic guitar, synth), Kevin Black (guitars), Lisa Lorenz (keyboards) and Nick McKinlay (drums).

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O Mer

(New York) O Mer releases his new track entitled "Icarus". When talking about the track O Mer says, “Initially, a friend whom I was worried about inspired "Icarus". Later, I felt like I was writing it about my home on the other side of the globe. Of course, the moment I started singing the song with the music, I realized I was talking to myself.”  "Icarus" will be included on his upcoming EP 'Refugee' which also features "Now I'm Alive" the previous single that also debuted on Nylon. "Now I'm Alive" has 200k+ listens on Spotify, 188k+ listens on Soundcloud and was #4 on HypeMachine.

Emerging from the Tel Aviv underground, now based in Brooklyn, O Mer is a multi-genre composer. Filling the role of singer, guitarist, beatmaker, producer, O Mer's music is distinctly his own.

People have compared O Mer musically to James Blake and Tame Impala, vocally to Arthur Russell. Influences include West African musicians such as Ali Farka Toure, Mediterranean musicians such as Aris San, and Western musicians such as The Yardbirds.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Eric Zayne

(Beverly Hills) By his own count, Eric Zayne wrote 150 songs last year but released only one.  That is about to change.  This week he let loose the first new song of 2017,  “Lost in Your Fire”, at a single release party held in the Alchemy Castle artist’s residence in Beverly Hills.  Zayne, accompanied by guitarist/cellist Nick Rosen, drummer Sterling Laws, and backup singer Dani Nicole, previewed songs to come as he celebrated the release of the “Lost in Your Fire” single and video. The song to come is “No Church for Me”, an emotionally freighted statement of what it means to be a multinational millennial today.
Born in Canada, Zayne was raised in war-torn Congo until his family had to flee for their lives, sending him as a child alone to Canada.  From there he moved constantly from country to country and school to school but made sense of it by writing songs and playing in multiple bands at 13. He toured Asia with a punk band for his first professional gig, then continued bouncing from country to country and ended up in LA three years ago. The culmination of his geographic and artistic peregrinations was on full display as Zayne, in a bright red fedora, deftly manipulated two keyboards and a grand piano in a half dozen tunes he let out of the vault of his musical mind.  As he road-tested songs for the clapping, finger popping, singing audience of fans and friends he went from heartbreak to joy to seduction to the state of the world.  

The songs he gave up had us looking for crowbars to pry open the doors for more.  With lyrics like I’m not what you want but I got what you need/be your bandage when your heart bleeds he reminded us that life is not always perfect, but like a traveling troubadour, we can make the best of where and when we are. He continued the theme with “I know I can have it all/with this heart of a dreamer” in “Walk the Line”, his voice pure and electric, touching falsetto, mournful at times, hopeful at others. The handful of still-rough songs of love and love lost he sang were pure distilled emotion tinged with a hopeful world knowledge. If these songs will eventually end up on an album, it will blow the top off the Billboard charts.

As Eric Zayne told us in his introduction to “No Church for Me”, he grew up all over the world and never felt he belonged to anything, but he feels he belongs to everything at the same time….”we can build our own church”, and he does with music that stands out and lasts. And we are lucky he is building it in Los Angeles.

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LA. Correspondent
Patrick O'Heffernan
@Music FridayLive