The electronica quintet from Leeds known as Vessels has some big things in the works… like this hot new jam which features The Flaming Lips. Yes, folks, Wayne Coyne provides the lyrics and vocal stylings while Vessels gives shape to the engulfing soundscape on “Deflect the Light”. Vessels released this track in anticipation of their forthcoming album which is due out September 29th. The new release also features guest appearances from other artists like John Grant, Katie Harkin, and Vincent Neff (of Django Django). There is a buoyancy and an optimism that pervades “Deflect the Light” so it’s the perfect mood boost, any time of day. Give the the single from Vessels a spin below or head here to score your own copy of the track.
The quirky sound of Cherie and Renno might sound vaguely familiar. Maybe that’s because the pair formerly performed together in the band Izabo. Cherie and Renno have a totally unique sound and that might have something to do with their one-of-a-kind instrumentation. The soundscape features a “home-made instrument – a wooden, electronic, multi-synth Viola that Ran, the frontman, built from parts he collected throughout the years.” DIY multi-synth viola? How could we not love it? Cherie and Renno has a funky punk vibe and enough energy to shake down any club, both aspects you can hear on their new single, “Meow”, available below or through iTunes here.
The artist known as Quasi-Stellar Object from Olympia [WA] just released his second solo album, Last Ditch-Digger, which offers this short and sweet number. “Too Long on the Vine” has an easygoing indie-folk sound that carries an impending sense of an end approaching in its cheery melody. For those of you who enjoy the single, I definitely suggest delving into the complete LP from Quasi-Stellar Object, but you should know that the rest of the album is a bit more pensive (and a little more strange… meaning not quite as “accessible”) than one finds on “Too Long on the Vine”. Give the single from Quasi-Stellar Object a listen below and then head over to Bandcamp for Last Ditch-Digger, the LP.
Dave Neff might be from The Old Pueblo but he now calls New York home. Fear not, he didn’t leave all that desert weirdness behind when he left Tucson. His single, “Whatever You Want”, comes to us from Neff’s latest EP, In Imperial Country, which came out in April. Dave Neff creates bedroom nerd rock that sounds like it came out of the garage – without sacrificing that geeky core. The summertime energy and retro rock bounce of “Whatever You Want” makes the single sound like it could easily be playing in the background at Bayside High which I’m sure will thrill the 90s-revivalism-loving Millennials out there. Give “Whatever You Want” by Dave Neff a listen below or here for the complete EP.
The Invisible Teal is the new undertaking from Todd Hoover who some of you (like me) might remember from his Black Rose Mansion days. To this new project, Hoover takes with him his powerful vocal prowess and musical flair for the dramatic – two factors that first locked me into BRM fandom. And, while there are some interesting permutations in the track, the song does feel a little too disembodied at certain moments (like in the intro), but I encourage you to stick it out. “OMG” is exploring new aural arenas, not just rehashing what’s worked for other artists before. And, as with any experimental undertaking, some things are going to work and other things might warrant a revisit. This single comes to us from Debt and Quandaries, the new album by The Invisible Teal that is currently in the works. Check out the single below and then head here to show the artist your support by contributing to his album fundraiser!
This new single from PHX songwriter [Taylor] Upsahl is like that first cherry limeade of summer: refreshingly bubbly and bright as the noon sun. Once you are afloat on Upsahl’s buoyant pop sound, the weight of the lyrics can begin to take hold, but don’t worry, they won’t pull you under that energetic current. “Can You Hear Me Now” looks back at a troubled relationship after its dissolution. You might expect something dripping with melodrama given that Upsahl is still in her teen years (and a recent high school graduate), but her songwriting expresses a subtly well beyond her years. Check out “Can You Hear Me Now” from Upsahl below.
Dirty Sunset is gearing up to release their debut album in September with this fun summer single. “Take it Slow” presents some finely honed musicianship lying beneath that seemingly effortless sound. The Phoenix five-piece has a rich indie-folk sound (violin and horns included) that makes for a great festival fit. I can just see the flower headbands and crochet crop tops now. This single induces hip swaying and maybe even some hand waving. Give the track a listen below and then head here to secure that digi-download. You might always want to jump on the pre-order option available through the band’s website before that 9/9 release date.
Brooklyn-based songwriter Katherine Eisenberg sounds like someone I would want to hang out in a mall with. Well, maybe a mall back in 1995 when they were still cool… you know, before they became the scourge of Late Capitalism that many Millennials see them as today. This lighthearted ditty emerged from that collegiate coffee shop crush I think we all had at one time or another. Katherine Eisenberg captures both the vibrance and innocence of those early love feels on “Real Nice Guy”. This single comes to us from Eisenberg’s 2017 EP, Nice, which dropped a few months back. Check out the single below or heard here for the complete EP.
I love those lazy summer days spent hiding from that blistering Arizona sun. Sometimes, there’s a nothing better than a little forced R’n’R passed in a dark, air-conditioned bedroom with your a mellow playlist. I definitely suggest making “Goddamnit” by Joy Downer an addition to that summer playlist. There’s a chill vibe the pervades the whole track that’s just cool. The song address that desperate longing that arises in separated lovers with that super hip and easygoing indie sound that first secured our band love for Joy Downer. Check out “Goddamnit” from Joy Downer below or you can see the slick music video for the single directed by Ryan Lacen and Anthony Baldino here.
A little slouchy psychedelia goes with summer like snow cones and skateboards. Thankfully, Philly’s Them Jones is here to provide for your seasonal needs with their new single, “Many Years of You”. Combining modern indie with some of the trippier elements of late 60s rocknroll, Them Jones crafts a dynamic number that shifts in soundscape as you move through it on “Many Years of You.” This track comes to us from the band’s June 1st release, Grow, which is available here for your listening (and purchasing) pleasure. But, first, check out “Many Years of You” by Them Jones below…
If you’re planning a Postmodern rollerskating party this summer, YELLE will provide the playlist. The French Electropop songster creates a lush but breathable sound space for that ultra hip vocal delivery that has marked YELLE’s music thus far: sorta disimpassioned yet super fun in the same breath. But the message is often positive and carries its own passion and “Interpassion” is no different. Give the single a spin below or get your own digi-download here.
The NY duo of Nikki Taylor and Eric Zeiler is known as Me Not You and together they create the simultaneously grungy and ethereal sound you’ll hear on their single, “Kill the Noise”. There’s a bit of super cool 90s sound mixed into this totally modern indie/electro soundscape that will have you hooked. Gritty instrumentation bolsters the radiant vocal layers on “Kill the Noise”. Listen for yourself below or head here to score the two-single from Me Not You that includes this track as well as their song, “Bulletproof”.
Prepare to have your heart broken. The L.A. duo known as EXES dives down deep to unearth the raw emotional force of loss for their new single, “Cain”. The electro-dream-pop pairing of Allie McDonald and producer Mike Derenzo bring this personal story of heartache to vibrant life on “Cain”. From McDonald’s celestial vocals to the instrumental support of Derenzo as it moves from embracing to uplifting, “Cain” is powerful and that force won’t diminish on repeated listens. I know. I’ve tried. Give “Cain” from EXES a spin below or head here for the digi-download.
The vibrant hook-heavy math-pop of Orchards blasts the listener with an August breeze on that first spin of “Darling”. Intentionally erratic and totally catchy, “Darling” just might the song that stays with you all summer. The Brighton band just wrapped up a tour with PWR BTTM but don’t be disappointed if you missed them live. Hopefully, Orchards will find time to shape out some new shiny new singles on their reprieve from the road. Get your own copy of “Darling” from Orchards here, but you can preview the single below first.
Clean/Cut throws a slick HipHop rhyme over the electro-inspired beat of “Bring Down the House”. This single comes to us from the San Diego duo’s 2017 EP, The Line, which came out in March. “Bring Down the House” has all the charge of a club hit but keeps just enough chill in the atmosphere for a poolside playlist. Check out the single from Clean/Cut below or head here for the full EP. Plenty of bangers in the mix there.
The London-based electro duo known as RINNGS brings together the work of multi-instrumentalists Karl Zine and Nai Jannson. As RINNGS, the pair moved away from traditional instrumentation to create richly textured tracks using only vocals and percussion. RINNGS describes their sound as “expressive alt pop” and that phrase really rings true on their debut single, “Cutting the Cloth”. The pair sample from a variety of sources from sacred choral music and Indian cartoons to the beats of the 1959 Wurlizer Sideman for this layered production. Give “Cutting the Cloth” a listen below or head here to snag your own copy of the track.
Jeffrey James hails from the Country Capital of Nashville, but he leans more toward the city’s gospel roots on “Unsaid”… uh, musicially, if not lyrically. This song is more about love lost, but let’s face it, most love songs are. James has just the right voice for his soulful R&B style to empower you through heartbreak. “Unsaid” is the title track from the artist’s recently released EP (available here) so if you dig the single below, make sure you delve further the music of Jeffrey James.
The blithe sound of MRYGLD offers a refreshingly buoyant take on the traditional love song with “Love Will Survive”. The Birmingham quintet combines an early Britpop sound with a fun interplay of the impeccably-matched lead vocalists on this new single to deliver a positive message about love and the acceptance of love. This track comes to us from the band’s upcoming s/t debut due out later this year so make sure you keep MRYGLD on your music radar. Check out the single below and then head here to score your own copy of “Love Will Survive” in digi-download form.
Hey fellas, if you really need to let out a good cry over the one-that-got-away, I suggest throwing “Love Interlude” from Miami’s Daniel Di Angelo on in your car and really delving those feels. The minimal approach on production provides just the right ambiance to support the emotional powerhouse that is Di Angelo. Daniel Di Angelo delivers a stellar performance on “Love Interlude” that will leave you feeling a little overexposed. Listen for yourself below and, if you dig what you’re hearing, check out Di Angelo’s latest single, “Fake Friends” (available here).
Livia Blanc’s new single, “Amour Amour”, finds her “singing about pain, gain, and seduction in the game of love.” At least, we have to assume that’s what she’s singing about because we don’t speak French. But what’s more romantic than French? It is the lanugage of love, after all. The Brooklyn-based chanteuse embodies a Brigitte Bardot slink for “Amour Amour” that I just love. You can score your own digital download of “Amour Amour” for those personal playlists right here, but you can give the single a spin below…
There’s an earnest feel to Josh Bierman’s songwriting that comes through on “Everyday”. Love can take on many different forms – not just romantic love – and Bierman explores the love shared with friends and family (and friends) with his jaunty indie rock. Bierman’s voice doesn’t quite have the refinement of some other artists, but I think that lends the single a bit of rustic charm. You have decide for yourself. This single has some real road trip jam potential so consider that digital download (available here).
The SunPunchers released two singles in prelude to their new EP which comes out THIS WEEKEND. These songs have a sticky summer warmth, like laying on a screened-in porch on a day buzzing with mosquitoes. There is an aesthetic here of sun tea and swimming holes brought to life through stunning, and stunningly demure, musicianship. The release show goes down at The Newton on May 20. Once you hear “Screwtop Head” from The SunPunchers, I can’t imagine that there’s anywhere else you’ll want to be this coming Sunday. More info on that event can be found here.
Wait until you hear the ethereal voice of 21-year-old Italian singer/songwriter Violetta Zironi. It’s not just her voice that enchants listeners of “Half Moon Lane” but the charming narrative of her songwriting style. The single has a stripped-down sound reminiscent of those swan-throated folk musicians of the 1970s like Vashti Bunyan. Just part my hair down the middle and wrap me in an afghan and I could listen to “Half Moon Lane” from Violetta Zironi all afternoon. I certainly hope to hear more from this artist soon.
“Saint Margaret” kicks off with just a minimal guitar line and the soulful voice of Tuelo Minah. That’s actually all you need. But, as the underlying instrumentation picks up, Tuelo continues to drive the single with those powerful pipes of hers. The song pays tribute to Minah’s mother in a way that I find both empowering and tinged with a certain sorrow that I feel many women hold for the experiences of our mothers. “Saint Margaret” by Tuelo is emotionally moving and sonically compelling so I suggest you check the single below…
There are some really interesting things happening in the subtle sound permutations on “Maria, Promise Me the Next Life”; the new single from NYC-based singer, songwriter, and producer Luca Chesney. This alt-electro track is a disembodied but emotionally textured journey. “Maria, Promise Me the Next Life” is the first single from Chesney’s s/t debut EP. I’m hoping to get my hands on that release sometime soon. In the meantime, enjoy this new single from Luca Chesney.
This isn’t the first time we’ve featured the music of Madeleine Dopico in our publication and I’m starting to think that we’re going to build a lasting relationship. The promising young songwriter crafts emotionally powerful soundscapes that she meets head on with her robust voice. On “Me to Bleed”, Dopico creates a haunting atmosphere for her brooding lyrics and manages to throw in just the right amount of dramatic flair to keep things interesting. That’s a combo a mortician’s daughter like myself can get behind in her pop music.
Bradford Loomis (of The Banner Days) dropped his first solo album since 2013 in March. Bravery and the Bell features this gem of a single, “Drive You Home”. Loomis penned the album after learning that his father was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. The soulful sound of Bradford Loomis’ folk style comes through with an earthy Americana that feels like it could easily find a home in Nashville, but the artist calls Washington (state… not that other one) home. Check out “Drive You Home” from Bradford Loomis here…
The Los Angeles songwriter who pens somber ditties under the name Arpeggi released her debut album, Senioritis, around this time last year. On that album, you’ll find “Songs Don’t Help” which delves into those Bell Jar moments when nothing seems to push back the skulking clouds of depression – not friends, not love, not even music (gasp). If you like your indie music stripped down and brooding, I suggest checking out “Songs Don’t Help” from Arpeggi. Or head here for the complete album.
You certainly may have seen him either attending or, even more likely, performing at various venues around the Valley. In T-shirt and cap, the young man has quite an unassuming air.
However, as Audile Collective, he is responsible for engineering some of this town’s best releases as of late by bands like Good Friends Great Enemies, Huckleberry, Nanami Ozone, and Playboy Manbaby, just to name a tiny few.
He also moonlights in more bands than I can keep track of so I decided to track the man down and find out exactly what’s what with his bands, his studio, and what’s next.
Mark Anderson for YabYum: When did you move to Arizona and how/when did you get involved with the music scene here?
Eamon Ford: The first time I moved out here was 2012. My close friend, Michelle Blades, suggested I come out this way. She and I knew each other through skateboarding in South Florida. So as to not just do so on a whim, I enrolled in the Luthier program at Roberto-Venn. I was able to get involved with the scene that first time through the generosity of people like Michelle Blades, Stephen Steinbrink, and Mo Neuharth.
Then I moved away, came back and started my band Nova Joven with Isaac Parker, Zack Parker and Chad Dennis. I was privileged to play lots of shows because of the folks at the Paper Knife, Parliament and Stateside Presents.
Moved away, again. Came back and started recording non-stop starting with both Numb Bats’ releases, R. Ariel’s Changer record, and the first Pro Teens full length among others.
Is audio recording something you’ve wanted to do for some time or did you fall more casually into it? I see you attended both CRAS and Roberto Venn so I wasn’t sure if you had one path in mind then switched. Can you build guitars/instruments too??
I’ve always had an interest in recording but it seemed out of my capabilities with all the costs and knowledge required. After Roberto-Venn I moved back to Florida and worked for a few different Luthiers and ended up taking a job at a Guitar Center. I, within the first few days there, knew I couldn’t do it for long so I worked as much as I could and took advantage of the discount. I bought lots of gear I had absolutely no Idea how to use but I knew at some point I would. I’m a musician before I’m anything else and the repair tech world was taking me further away from the playing of music.
I was missing Arizona and, on a visit to PHX, Mo Neuharth suggested I move in with her in the Garfield neighborhood. So again as to not do so on a whim, I pulled out a semi-frightening student loan and enrolled in CRAS! After that, I moved out to New York and became an intern at the Rare Book Room (Deerhunter, Dirty Projectors, Palehound, Animal Collective). I owe a great deal to Nicholas Vernhes and Gabe Wax for my confidence and knowledge in this field.
What is your current recording set-up like?
I live in a house with my roommate and bandmate Matt Tanner (Pro Teens’ drummer). I’ve set it up so we have one big tracking area, drums have their own area and amps/guitars/synths another. Lots of sound treatment and gear. Then there is a control room and other rooms that serve to isolate Amps when people want to be able to track live. I’m capable of 16 channels live and am running pro tools 10. Focusrite Isa 428, Universal Audio 4-170d, a Pair of Distressors, Overstayer Stereo VCA compressor, other pre’s and compressors and mics. It is most certainly a “home studio” and people really gravitate towards that feel. Musicians can really take their time here to work and not feel rushed or pressured. The space is very flexible and capable of lots of different sounds. The studio is called Audile Collective.
Why did you decide to set-up Audile Collective here in Phoenix?
While at the Rare Book Room I knew that I wanted “this” – having my own space and being my own boss. Now, my space is no Rare Book Room or as prestigious as other top dollar studios here in town, but that’s kind of the point.
While in New York I learned the importance of the surrounding room, it’s flexibility and its comfortability. There was really nice gear in that studio but not all the nice gear and that struck me in a big way.
So I came back with the idea of setting up a studio that could be useful to all budgets and bands. I have really nice gear but I don’t have all the nice gear. That way my costs for myself and the artist are low and we don’t waste time.
The idea of a huge console and walls of gear is a frustratingly dated notion of people who think they should be able to buy a new car and multiple pairs of leather pants with each record. It’s a romantic and boastful idea. As a band who goes into one of these studios with racks upon racks of gear, you are paying to cover the cost of what the engineer has put on themselves so they can swing a big dick. You are paying for everything you see. But at a studio like that you are at best using 20% of what they have.
There is nothing cool about a console that Keith Richards did a line off of, it just means that it’s in need of a good dusting. Nice gear is just that, nice to have. And with the production of gear today, companies are making great streamlined and flexible pieces of equipment at fair prices (most of the time) for a studio to be properly outfitted or someone to record into a cheap interface with a nice external pre in their bedroom.
Could you tell us a little (or a lot) about your recording process?
The process varies a considerable amount each session and I try my best to not be what I call a “sonic stamper”. I aim for my touches to be transparent so the band can sound as much as themselves as possible and I lend my ideas for production but never get attached to them as to make it clear to the artist that this body of work is absolutely theirs.
I really don’t like the notion of engineers having a “signature sound” because often that just becomes this lazy sonic blanket they put on everything and it all starts to sound the same. Listening to the artists ideas and really just stepping out of the way is crucial to a truthful audio representation of their efforts.
Not everyone has the language and know-how so it’s in those moments I step in but never before. There is no method that works for all and there is no “It should sound like this”, It should sound how they want it to sound and that’s it. Maybe if your snare sounds like a slab of ham hitting wet cardboard, that could sound “bad” but even then it’s pretty debatable.
What bands are you in now? Pro Teens for sure…
Pretty much just Pro Teens. Good Friends Great Enemies has retired into the great beyond and Lai was a fun temporary collaboration with Kristina Moore (koleżanka, Where are all the Buffalo, Foreign Language), Ark Calkins (Ark, Willetta, koleżanka), Chad Dennis (Playboy Manbaby, Instructions, Nova Joven). I have a personal project called Universer that I’ve released a single song as. Working on a larger body of work for it but it will probably just remain a project that puts out recordings and doesn’t play out.
What projects are you currently working on that you can tell us about?
Dang. I. Am. Busy. Pretty recently I finished the new Huckleberry full length Natural Selector, the Nanami Ozone EP Make It All Right, Go Outside’s EP No Thanks, the Elna Rae EP Dexter, and Playboy Manbaby’s Don’t Let it Be.
Currently I’m mixing an EP for Hypoluxo from Brooklyn, New York. I’m also mixing a full length for Spirit Tramp out of Athens, Georgia. Started tracking and mixing the new koleżanka record. Working with Max Knouse. Just finished 4 songs with Vance Nowe and a 5 song EP with John Chanteuse. Both of whom are in a wonderful band called Herbert Walker. Oh and new Pro Teens.
What do you make of the overall music scene we have here in the Valley/State? The good and the bad from your perspective?
Phoenix is incredible. I moved back here from New York to try and put together a studio all on my own and I knew I could do so here. This music scene is so hungry and the bands here are willing to put in the work. I’ve lived in a lot of cities and none of them can touch the tenacity of this place.
The only “downside” I’ve noticed is Phoenix is quite big so there are so many micro scenes. It’s great when they come together but I’ve noticed particularly with Phoenicians who have played in the scene for a long time that they’ll be nostalgic for a time before or will be so caught up in what they use to do that they have these blinders on not allowing them to notice all the new blood.
As a self employed audio engineer, I’m lucky to be able to work with so many bands of so many niches. Oh and lets not forget how awesome it is that Tucson and Flagstaff are so close.
I believe you’ve toured some. Do you have a particular show/venue/city that stands out as a highlight?
Boulder, Colorado is always a fun time. Real hungry scene there with the tape label “First Base Tapes”.
Anything else upcoming? Any summer touring at all?
Lots of recording coming up. Pro Teens is hitting new material hard when we get back from tour (it’s really piling up), which we leave for May 2nd and will be back the 22nd!
Is there something I failed to ask that you that you would want people to know about? What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
This scene is really diverse and I think if at any moment someone here feels like it’s in a lull, all they need to do is look around and go to a new haunt. So much happening between places like the new Trunk Space, Lost Leaf, The Lunchbox, Rebel Lounge, Stateside venues, students at TUF and between so many bands in town like Twin Ponies, koleżanka, Go Outside, Le Monolith, Malta, RNA, Diners, Body of Light, Elna Rae, Nanami Ozone, Little Brother Mojo, Playboy Manbaby, Herbert Walker, Nick Perkins band, Huckleberry, Jerusafunk, The Hill in Mind [RIP], James Band, Running From Bears, the list could go on for quite sometime. I’m very lucky to be playing with my friends in Pro Teens and to work with so many talented and genuine people through my studio. I find myself constantly inspired by everything I work on.
I can do an impressive amount of pistol squats and I make a really good vegan eggplant lasagna, once a year.
Usually it’s Lauren Ruth Ward’s sultry Americana swagger that has us all wound up, but this week it looks like Ward is ready for rowdy and rocking. “Blue Collar Sex Kitten” is the latest hit to come out the songwriting partnership between L.A.-based musicians LRW and guitarist Eduardo Rivera. There’s so much sass on this single, you’re going to want to skip it on the drive to work and save it for that cruise home… unless, of course, you want to arrive at your job ready to burn the whole fucking place down. Consider that your warning.
London-based band The Great Malarkey dares to ask the question, “Why did the Irish artist, the Canadian surfer, the Portuguese London tour guide, the Gloucestershire gardener, two UK Guild Hall students, a Latvian paralegal and an androgynous cockney, walk into a bar?” Apparently, the answer is create some riotous folk punk of orchestral proportions. Of course, with eight members listed as part of The Great Malarkey, I would imagine this band brings the party every time they show up to perform. If you dig “Gaffa” (and you will), I suggest checking out more of the online musical offerings The Great Malarkey released last month (here).
This garage rock trio from PHX adds some colorful kitsch to their punk rock punch bowl. Yes, Sturdy Ladies throw out the feisty fun on “Secret Weapon” that will have you shouting along so you might want to consider your location before you smash that play button. Luckily you’ll get your chance not once but twice. Not only are the Sturdy Ladies playing this Saturday, May 13, at the Yucca Tap they’re also opening for Shonen Knife (from Osaka, Japan) on May 24 with Shovel and The Pübes! More on that event here. Until then, spend some time with “Secret Weapon” and also their campy classic, “Cat Olympics“, available online as well. Both singles comes to us from the Sturdy Ladies’ debut EP, Brut Force, which you should pick up at a one of the previously mentioned shows because, so far, that’s the only place you can get ’em. Enjoy.
Okay, so when “It’s Not Easy” kicks off, you’re probably going to worry that I might be confused about what the word “rowdy” means, but give it a minute. The NYNY quartet known as the Dolly Spartans turn up the energy and the angst for this indie rock single. The vocals call to mind club scene kids like The Strokes while the accompanying instrumentation has an emo tinge that reminds me a bit of Jimmy Eat World. This single comes to us from the band’s latest EP, Time Sides with No One, which came out last month. Give “It’s Not Easy” by the Dolly Spartans a spin below…
Shanghai-based act Round Eye is comprised of “American ex-pats and Italians” which might seem like a bit of a metropolitan muddle, but rocknroll is a transcendent language that cold-crushes culture divides. “Billy” has a feisty punk energy and catchy hook that might just lodge into your brainspace and never leave again. Twenty years from now, a routine traffic stop could result in you screaming “Billy was a cop! Billy was a cop! Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy!” if you let the music of Round Eye take hold. And you definitely want to.
Britain’s Annabel Allum first landed on our radar with her single, “Rich Backgrounds”, and this new single proves Allum is more than a one-trick pony. She has some chops. “Eat Greens” rips into that impetus toward better health that hits many of us as we move toward full-time adulting, but the song is more about finding balance than just clever witticisms. Allum has a gritty sound and a dry tongue that reminds me of Courtney Barnett. “Eat Greens” came out on April 28 through Killing Moon Records. Give the new single a spin below and, if you haven’t already, check out “Rich Backgrounds” from Annabel Allum as well.
The Irish rockers known as Otherkin have some “Bad Advice” to offer up to fans. The four-piece describes their sound rather accurately as “Grunge Pop” so I could easily seeing them sharing a bill with Phoenix favorites like Fairy Bones or maybe Harper and the Moths. This single comes to us from the band’s forthcoming debut album. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get our grubby mitts on that release in the not-too-distant future. Until then, enjoy “Bad Advice” from Otherkin…
My name is Mignon Gould and I am the founder and Agent-in-Chief of TheChicSpy.com, an online style and entertainment publication featuring the works of creatives in fashion, film, and pop culture.
How did you get your start?
Several years ago I worked for The Arizona Republic. I wrote for their weekly style publication called “Yes”, as well as a few of their other magazines. After leaving the newspaper, I went to graduate school in San Francisco, received an MFA in Fashion Journalism with an emphasis in Multimedia Studies. I used my publication as my thesis and decided to launch it into a business.
What inspires you?
I’m so inspired by my family in all that I do. Creatively my mother was inspirational. She is a clarinetist and performed for the Phoenix Symphony. She also enjoyed pottery. She created this amazing chess set when she was 16 and it’s mine now. It’s beautiful and the details on the pieces are amazing.
As a publisher, writer and entrepreneur, I’m also inspired by my 3rd great uncle John James Neimore, who in 1879 founded The California Eagle, one of the first African-American newspapers in California. He was in his teens. I can’t imagine how super focused he had to be to do something so groundbreaking at that age, and in that era.
What do you like about AZ?
I love the arts community and how unpretentious and enriching it is here. After all, we have one of the leading fashion collections in this country at Phoenix Art Museum, and we have one of the most attended art events in the nation with Artlink’s First Friday Art Walk. In the Valley, art is accessible for everyone.
I would like to have helped others achieve their professional goals. I’m currently preparing to launch Chic Spy Studio, a virtual internship program for college students and recent graduates in journalism, fashion, media, marketing, and design. I piloted the program in 2013 with students from around the country including Arizona State University in Tempe, Syracuse University in New York, and Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I originally launched my website to create a portfolio of my written work. I was able to get a job at a newspaper with that portfolio. Now, I want to create a platform that helps others land their dream job.
What is your mantra?
Carpe Diem. I wrote a poem in the 90s, and keep it with me always. It keeps me marching on, knowing no mission is impossible:
Have you ever wanted to create a new version of you Someone who’d always know what to do A feeling of strength and power divine No limits or boundaries to draw the line Carpe Diem is to seize the day Become who you want Make your own way It’s now or never, I’ve heard some say Now is the time, to seize the day
Kyle Buckley, also known as Pink Slip, made the jump from Atlanta to Nashville, but his sound still holds some of that ATL slink in its slick production. “Said it All” comes to us from Pink Slip’s debut EP – Pink Hotel – which dropped last month. Pink Slip sets the soulful vocal stylings of featured artist Estef against some contemporary R&B bounce on “Said it All”. Make sure you give “Said it All” by Pink Slip a listen below and then delve into Pink Hotel (available here).
Those kids who always seemed to possess a clear understanding of their calling early on (and had the talent to boot) always irritated me a little. They should have to fumble around with self-identity like all the rest of us, goddammit. Addie Hamilton is one of those. A teenage love affair with her grandmother’s record collection turned into a life’s work early on for Hamilton and now, at 21 years old, she already kicking out radio-ready gold with her new single, “La La La”. There’s a kittenish tinge to Addie Hamilton’s voice will put you in the mood for a Gatsby-style bash, champagne and flappers included, of course. Those jazzy vocals harken back to that record collection of Hamilton’s youth which included classics from Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman, and Eartha Kitt. Give “La La La” by Addie Hamilton a listen below…
This chill chip-pop track from the Swedish artist known as Naah can turn your morning commute into the right kind of attitude adjustment if you need a little more shoulder shimmy in your day. Naah will help with that. “Worth It” creates a fun but zen atmosphere that will leave you feeling mellow. This is just the first single from the two track release, of the same title, so consider delving further into the offerings of Naah (available here). But, first, check out “Worth It” below…
This catchy new single from Flannel Albert (aka Albert Joo) could see some series spins at those backyard barbecues this coming summer. Flannel Albert , originally from Portland, jumped coasts and took his melodic rhyme style to Brooklyn, but I can still detect a bit of that West Coast easygoing attitude on “aok”. The track has an old school, kickback atmosphere and that video-game-reminiscent sound that starts off the single only adds to that nostalgia. Flannel Albert dropped this track while gearing up for tour. “aok” marks the first single from his forthcoming tape so keep watch for that release this Spring. In the meantime, check out “aok” below…
Lex One might have earned his chops in the Miami underground hiphop scene, but it looks like he’s ready break mainstream. And this new single, “Let’s Get Lost”, will only help the cause. Lex One delivers a steady stream of lyrical musings on love and lust on “Let’s Get Lost” while Hellz Poet provides the super catchy hook. Get lost with Lex One below…
With a little help from 17-year-old vocalist Julia Rose, producer Tim Hox shaped out this club-ready moombahton number. Hox lays down a beat to get you moving while Rose has an alternatively smokey and lithe voice that will have you reaching for repeat. If Reggaeton is up your alley, “One Big Race” might be your new jam. You just might have so much fun on that first listen that you don’t notice the goal-oriented message that lies in the lyrics, but we all might benefit from paying attention. Give “One Big Race” a listen below…
Ben Zaidi certainly has as promising a start as any artist could hope for. After growing up in Seattle, Zaidi moved to New York City before attending Harvard University to study music and creative writing. The new single from the artist, “Irene”, is soulful and soft-spoken. The minimal texturing keeps the track’s focus where it belongs: on Zaidi’s subtly emotive voice and the poetic narrative within his lyrics. This is definitely a songwriter to watch. Give “Irene” a spin below and, if you like what you’re hearing, delve further into Ben Zaidi’s online musical offerings through Soundcloud here.
Singer-songwriter Julia Lucille might be a California native, but she spent time in Portland studying music at Lewis and Clark College before moving to Austin, where she currently resides. I can definitely see Lucille’s ambient-folk sound doing well in any one of the aforementioned locations. There is a desolation that can be heard on “Eternally” that denotes a Western sensibility – something a little mystical yet still a little hopeless. “Eternally” comes to us from Julia Lucille’s forthcoming album, Chthonic, which comes out on April 7th so mark your calendar. Before that happens, sink down into “Eternally” below…
Jordan Prince made the jump over the Big Pond, bringing his Louisiana folk all the way to Munich, Germany. His new single, “Woman (One of These Days)”, comes to us from Prince’s upcoming ep, No Manual. I love the simple, earthy sound and easygoing attitude. The lyrics don’t really describe your typical romantic sentiments, as the title might suggest. Instead, the author suggests the subject delves even further into “man’s perverted obsessions, and how he can’t control or forgive his own guilt as he becomes self aware of his action.” Despite the weighty topic, Jordan Prince keeps his melody lithe. Listen to “Woman (One of These Days)” below…
This Costa Mesa artist has a distinctly coastal vibe in his indie-folk sound. Stevie Talks claims “Pollyanna” is about “a girl [he] cannot stand” but I think the songwriter might be a little conflicted on that particular point. In the same breath, “Pollyanna” comes across as anguished and wistful, but with enough bounce to keep the mood light. Give the single a spin below and, if you like the summery sound of Stevie Talks, you can move on to his previous single “LYM (Leave Your Man)” which came out a few months back. Let’s hope more songs are on the way.
The North London singer-songwriter who goes simply by the moniker Sasha creates ambient dreamscapes of sound. On her new single, “Gracious”, Sasha sets her nimble voice afloat the gentle current of a stark yet beautiful arrangement. “Gracious” is the perfect song for a mellow and meditative morning. Or perhaps you can find four minutes to zen out with the single before launching into your litany of tasks for the day. I can almost guarantee a calmer sense of being will stay with you throughout the rest of the day. Listen to “Gracious” below…
The Swedish musician known as Alessandra not only wrote and performed her new single, but she also produced the track. That’s rather ambitious for any young artist, but Alessandra pulls off the feat with great success. On “The River”, powerful vocals are met with equal energy from the underlying soundscape. “Your River” marks the first single from Alessandra’s soon-to-be-released debut EP. This emotive number centers on an experience of bittersweet summer love. And, for anyone who’s been there, you feel the sudden return of those heart-wrenching highs and lows as you listen to “Your River”. Which you should do. Right now.
London singer-songwriter Carmen Rosa is gearing up to release her debut EP with this new single. “Wild One” combines smokey vocals with an aural landscape that has a cinematic feel. I can easily imagine this song playing as a dramatic scene carries out on the silver screen with slinky satin dresses and plenty cigarette smoke. This is a promising start for the EP to come from Carmen Rosa which should be available next week (March 31) through Hometown Records. Until then, enjoy “Wild One” below…