I count live music as one of the great pleasures in life. People from disparate backgrounds getting together in one venue, all brought together with a common love of the music. I went to live shows often and already had plans, in some cases purchased tickets, for shows through 2020. Whoops!
During the first weeks of quarantine and isolation, I kept myself busy with all the unfinished projects around my house, waiting to be called back to work. Six months later, I find myself without a job, returned tickets and cancelled plans. I am grateful for all that I have, including my health and the health of my family, and live music.
While the music industry has suffered greatly during this pandemic, art will never be stopped. We see this with street murals, short form videos, soaring interest in crafts and cooking, and all the performance art that is available on your computer, in most cases free of charge or for an artist tip.
Imperfect Fifth celebrated their 3rd anniversary September 7 – 13th and viewers got the gifts – six nights of performances along with seven days of Instagram takeovers that included performances! Here are a few highlights from Day #1!
Instagram takeovers on September 7 included Austin Archer and Griffin Holtby. Austin Archer is a Los Angeles based artist with plenty of great music under his belt (“Sweet Rejection”, “Dangerous Liaison”), as well as acting, writing, and directing credits. Griffin Holtby calls Texas home and gave us a tour of sites in and around Dallas where he would be creating his newest video. The Blues guitar will reel you into his music.
The headliner on FB Live on Day #1 was Eric Dash. The New Jersey native, now living in Los Angeles, played a spirited 40-minute set that covered older material as well as songs he is getting ready to release (“Jealousy” and “I Just Need to Get Away”). Although he hasn’t played a live show in awhile, he sounded fresh and very excited to play. Dash broke out with an acoustic version of the Foo Fighters’ “The Pretender” that was higher energy than you might imagine with just a guitar. The second song he covered was “Lithium” by Nirvana and he made it his own. My favorite of the night was “Stay Arms Reach,” a ballad with energy.
Make a plan to watch the replay of Eric Dash’s show below!
In the midst of all the excitement surrounding Imperfect Fifth’s third-year anniversary event, Evelyn Cools cooled things down with her cozy and beautiful live performance on September 8th. Live streaming is different from recorded music, but it’s also not quite the same as true live performance either. In many ways, it feels like a kind of hybrid between the two, with the excitement from the live aspect, but still feeling intimate in the same way that listening to a record can feel. Evelyn’s performance emphasized the latter well, performing songs from her EP Misfit Paradise with only a guitar and her spectacular voice. The shining star of this performance, Cools’ vocals, were so incredibly striking live, inducing chills at least once on every track she sang. Not only that, the melody lines themselves were so well suited for live performance; their sweetness and beauty radiant amongst the bare musical background. They adapted to the tone of each song Cools performed, sometimes dulcet, other times haunting, but always gorgeous.
Aside from the enchanting sonic aspect of this performance, the visual was also fun to watch. Cools was open and humble, and it felt like she was simply just trying to share her wonderful music with us all. She often made eye contact with the camera, giving it that personal feel that is so elusive when at a live concert; wishing, hoping, and praying that the headliner will notice your face in the sea of the crowd.
It’s safe to say that Evelyn delivered an exquisite performance that engaged her entire audience– if you need proof, know that even her dog was compelled to sing along (and made a brief and adorable appearance on camera)! If you’re disappointed that you missed it, don’t fret! You can find the performance on Imperfect Fifth’s facebook page.
This playlist is a compilation of many of the songs that played a major role in developing The Waking Point’s dark and high energy signature sound. The music from these artists inspired a guide for expression, while the engineering on many of the tracks are goals for future productions.
As young Nikki O’Neill grew up in a trilingual household in Sweden, she didn’t fully realize that she was absorbing all of the diverse cultures around her until it popped up into her music. In her upcoming album World is Waiting, O’Neill and her five-piece band explore R&B, gospel, Americana, and blues in tracks led by O’Neill’s natural vocals, inviting guitar playing, and catchy, intentional songwriting. A taste of what’s to come, O’Neill’s music video for the single “You’re the Only One Who Gets Me” is a witty and untroubled depiction of an oft-misinterpreted introvert who has finally found a kindred spirit. She characterizes it by saying “This song is meant to have some sense of humor… it’s about this introspective person who’s constantly been miscast and misunderstood by others. It’s pretty exhausting to never feel comfortable around people, so when you finally meet someone who gets you and who you can be yourself with, it’s like you hit the jackpot.”
In the video, O’Neill is bathed in the white light of the beach, standing with and without her guitar on the sand, in front of walls, and on wooden steps, singing sincerely to the camera. A hint of jazz in the guitar and bass brings the blues, and O’Neill’s voice brings some country flair to the SoCal americana groove. Overall, though, the track is quite calm. The vocals and harmonies aren’t particularly loud or in-your-face, rather they are soft sounds that just diffuse delectably with each other and the other instruments. At the same time, O’Neill’s eyes, as they stare into the camera, reveal her conviction. They are so expressive and honest, you find yourself watching them more than anything else. Every aspect of the music video works well together, from the slow-motion shots and the easy rock sound to O’Neill’s passionate eyes and how they augment the meaningful lyrics. Reveals O’Neill of the track:
This song is meant to have some sense of humor… it’s about this introspective person who’s constantly been miscast and misunderstood by others. It’s pretty exhausting to never feel comfortable around people, so when you finally meet someone who gets you and who you can be yourself with, it’s like you hit the jackpot.
Whether you’re an introvert yourself or not, hearing a song about finding someone who truly gets you is always refreshing, and O’Neill captures this feeling in a peaceful yet groovy 4-minute package with visuals that calm your nerves and make you feel known.
From Oslo, Norway to Nashville, Tennessee Malin Pettersen seems to be paving the way, around the world, to success. After growing up surrounded by music Pettersen was drawn to American culture and arts, as if it was calling her name. This calling led to the formation of popular country band Lucky Lips where she sings lead vocals. Which finally led to the release of her first solo album in 2018 and a mini-album in 2019, which received praise from big names like Rolling Stone Country and Billboard. Fans of Darling West, Erin Rae and Angel Olsen would love Pettersen, but she has a voice of her own that sounds strong and soft at the same time.
Her next album Wildhorse is set to release October 16. The latest single before the album drops, “Wildhorse Dream”, references the album title. It is filled with layers of instrumentation and graceful harmonies. “I wrote this on a plane. I don’t think it needs any explanation and I think it can probably be different things for different people, but I did want to capture that feeling of “in-betweenness” that at least I specifically get on planes. It’s like a weird philosophical time zone where everything is up in the air,” Pettersen says. Pettersen has one of those styles that you can recognize the second the song begins. “Wildhorse Dream” is a journey back to music made years ago, while keeping it new. It feels like discovering something you haven’t listened to in a while that you will find yourself gravitating back to.
As an artist, your debut work can make or break you. It provides the foundation for a fan base and is the first opportunity to show the strengths and weaknesses of your power. Montreal-based artist Tedy is releasing his debut EP via Sony Music Canada. The 28-year-old fuses soul, alternative and pop together for a unique sound. The compilation of six tracks show his abilities, which are impressive for an emerging artist. Boys Don’t Cry is led by the singles “Stuck” and “War”, both co-produced by Mike Wise (Ellie Goulding, Chainsmokers) and Herag Sanbalian.
In 2019, Tedy began to craft the EP thoughtfully and as a creative collaboration. He strives to have a meaningful response to his creative endeavours, which he seems to have here. The title track, “Boys Don’t Cry”, is the track we need, with different powerful elements coming to play. Tedy’s vocals might be the best part of the EP, as they slip in and out of the melodies. It is almost as if his voice is reminiscent of a mix between Sam Smith and Rag’n’Bone Man, especially on a track such as “Fireworks”. This song is a rollercoaster of highs and lows that showcase his range. He is not afraid to slow things down with “War”, and then ramp up the ante with “Twisted (I Hate Myself)” where his voice battles over the strong sound of drums.
Listening to “Stuck” , it is hard to believe this is only his debut release as a signed artist. The song feels current and pulls you in all around, whether it is the lyrics or the production. The sixth and final track, “Hopeless” feels like the bow on top of a present. It ties together all the best elements explored in the album and doesn’t try to be something it isn’t. Overall, Tedy put together an impressive collection of songs that convey his talent. He is one of those artists you could never forget and easily will become a staple in your music repertoire. Boys Don’t Cry is out now.
Much like a heart broken in two halves, Norwegian singer Dagny is gearing up to release the second half of her debut album Strangers / Lovers by releasing the first single, “It’s Only A Heartbreak.” Since the A side of the album dropped earlier this May, its two lead singles have received an impressive response; “Come Over” spent 3 weeks at the top of the Norwegian radio-airplay charts, while “Somebody” made its way the top 5, amassing over 14 million streams along the way. The album as a whole tracks the journey of a relationship. The half that has already been released traces the dizzying, butterfly-inducing blooming of a new love, but now it’s time for things to fall apart. Side B of Strangers / Lovers is out on October 2nd via Little Daggers Records, and it examines the fall out of the relationship that blossomed on side A.
Like the whole album, “It’s Only A Heartbreak” is personal, so Dagny uses conversational lyrics to reflect on her post-breakup emotions and to give herself a sort of pep talk in the aftermath. The song was partially inspired by Humphery Bogart’s famous quote from the 1942 classic Casablanca: “Here’s looking at you, kid.” Dagny explains, “Like the movie, the song is about knowing that you will never get someone back, but you can secretly still look at, and admire, that certain someone. The song carries a nonchalant expression, but the undertone makes it pretty obvious that you’re not over that person yet.”
And indeed, from all sonic appearances, “It’s Only A Heartbreak” is an energetic, striking bop. Its infectious melody lines and vibrant array of jittering electronic sounds create a vivid soundscape that could be mistaken for a dance track– unless you listen to the lyrics. Dagny sings “Most days I wake up I’m okay / I’m doing my own thing, I don’t have a moment to think about you / Most days I’m up on a high wave, And I’m just like urgh, It’s only a heartbreak, I got to get through you,” and suddenly the brilliance and complexity of the sounds surrounding her seem to reflect the intense and complicated emotions that come with heartbreak. So whether you’re feeling heavy-hearted yourself and just want to feel seen, you just want to dance, or you’re a fan of intriguing musical settings and skilled production, “It’s Only A Heartbreak” is definitely for you.
If this were a Friends episode, it would be called “The One With A Chicken.” Stephen Clair’s upcoming single “Fixing to Fly” features strangely cute chicken-related metaphors to describe the complications of romance, supplemented by rustic visuals of a chicken coop in the accompanying video.
Clair is known for his intent singing and literary songwriting, something he channels in the lyrics to “Fixing to Fly” which have a certain poetry to them. But his songs aren’t wispy folk tunes that one often associates with lyrical storytelling, rather they are garage Americana tunes with classic, bluesy sounding guitar, crashing cymbals, and driven walking bass lines. The first few moments of “Fixing to Fly” reveal the song’s whole nature immediately, with the swinging guitar that meanders about on its own for a while before the bass comes in to ground it in the twangy Americana sound. Clair’s voice rings out clear and genuine, like a humble offering to his listeners, subtly asking them to follow along as he sings: “Cooped up in this roost with all these chicks / And the henhouse ain’t a funhouse / When you’re fixing to fly but your wings don’t get you high.”
If you’re feeling down and just can’t find the right way to express how you feel, give “Fixing to Fly” a shot. The odd metaphors that lie within a chicken’s wings may speak to your soul in ways you have never known before.