raveena aurora, “sweet time”

raveena aurora, “sweet time”

As if New York-based R&B musician Raveena Aurora could be any more impressive, she recently released a beautiful self-directed video for her single “Sweet Time”, simultaneously garnering an audience to the celebration of women of color. Working alongside a short list of incredible editors, stylists, and designers – as well as a cast of real life goddesses – Raveena has created an incredible, pink-tinged visual to represent the airy, fun, soulful vibe of the track. Feminine color, women of all shapes, colors, and sizes, and a carefree day full of florals is enough to make any woman feel as magical as they are inherently born.

Raveena, thanks for the reminder.

Crew
Directed by – Raveena Aurora
Director of Photography- James Ronkko
Producers – Alice Agrusa & Raveena Aurora
Editors – Alice Agrusa & James Ronkko
Set Design & Screenplay – Raveena Aurora
Colorist – James Ronnko
Additional Set Design – Bobo Matjila
Production Assistant – Nutsa Ugulava
Floral Stylist – Reena Aurora
MUA – Chelsea Chen & Tara Welsome

Goddesses
Akinkunmi Iman
April Rubi Jurado
Bobo Matjila
Bria Scott
Indira Scott
Serena Haahs
Tori Mumtaz

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Keep up with Raveena Aurora here.

diane coffee, peel

diane coffee, peel

Today, Bloomington-based Diane Coffee released his latest 7″ via Polyvinyl, a work titled Peel which features his two upbeat, instrumentally robust tracks “Poor Man Dan” and “Get By”. Though “Poor Man Dan” feigns an upbeat attitude, the truth is that it is based on a dark urban legend from his neighborhood growing up. But unless you hone in on the vocals, you could never tell with the heavy Motown influence. His music is driven with a large horn section and incredible backup vocal ensemble, so you’d be hard pressed to find a track that wasn’t uplifting in one of its facets. But you find that you can’t help it when Coffee’s voice takes on that nostalgic edge, and you’re immediately taken back in time with each line.

Peel is available now. Keep up with Diane Coffee here.

channeling, bluffs

channeling, bluffs

Today marks the release date of Brooklyn-based musician Channeling‘s (Andrew Osterhoudt) latest, an EP titled Bluffs which is comprised of his three tracks “Drift”, “Bluffs”, and “Doves”. A solid follow-up to his debut full-length Channeling, Andrew has taken the feelings of being content and of being out of control and somehow proudly made a space for them both. The piece is introspective, strangely light, and exquisite in sound.

It turns out that “Drift” and “Bluffs” were originally composed as a single musical piece, though they have been separated into two sturdy pieces. The instrumentals in “Drift” make you feel as though you are drifting in a cacophony of sound, with subtle changes in their sound as they largely exist in the same sound space throughout. Osterhoudt meant for the song to feel as though the listener were “floating somewhere unknown in a bog of electronic sounds,” and he was – not surprisingly – very successful in this. Toward minute seven, the track begins to sound less like static, and take on a more natural feel to it. It is at this point that the work transitions into second track “Bluffs”, which Osterhoudt admitted was “meant to create a sense of floating at sea, and eventually struggling against overpowering tides.” There is a nostalgic late 80s, early 90s feel to the keys, as the track is eventually drowned out by a static sound and the waves come crashing over you.

It is with “Doves” that we find our true heart. The last of the three tracks was recorded on the day of Prince’s passing, and, according to to Osterhoudt, “features the melody to ‘When Doves Cry,’ manipulated on a lo-fi sampler.” What an intense and wondrous experience, especially for fans of the late legend.

Bluffs is out now. Keep up with Channeling here.

low chimes, illumine

low chimes, illumine

They’ve been illuminating the crowd everywhere they go over the course of the last two years, and now UK-based alt-folk act Low Chimes – comprised of Marianne Parrish, Jack Page, Rob Pemberston, and Lachlan McLellan – is making their full length debut with recent album Illumine. The ten track release is an ethereal one, blending hard guitar riffs with light as a feather vocals, almost transforming its listener to another time, an entirely different place.

Initiating its kaleidoscope vibe with first track “Sleepwalking”, we are immediately hit with positive vibes, lines like “everything’s changing for the better” dancing around us as if floating on air. “Sulfer Silk” paints an already vivid picture in its wording, the texture of the instrumentals somehow adding a layer, as though it is the exact audio representation of the term. You won’t be able to help but to find yourself swaying your hips before the sprawling five minutes is up. “Dust Will Blow” is more of a toe-tapper than a hip-swayer, but the reverb follows the vocals around in a calm and beautiful manner, melting into the abrupt tempo change on “Away The Day”. Staccato notes and an almost glacial pace allow for the band to play with a bit of dissonance in composition, lending to Parrish’s delicate vocals in an incredibly complementary way.

It is with “Lacuna” that the instrumentals nab a little edge to them, seeming to swirl lazily out of a hard rock track into a slow buildup that hosts luxurious, rich vocals. And while “Taming Trance” is something we could see ourselves doing a nice round of restorative yoga to, “Electric Bloom” maintains an almost lazy surf vibe with its guitar parts and breezy chorus. Perhaps we’ve found the bite we need in eighth song “Blood Orange” with its jazzy melody and the way the words seem to counter the accompanying composition. When it comes to “Forget I Know”, we get lost more in Parrish’s vocal range than anything, but the album only finds its closure in fitting track “Final Farewell”, where chorus style vocals allow a build into a more alt-rock ending than its folk majority would lead you to believe. It’s as though they pass through all of the major genres represented in the album in one track, tying the entire album together with a succinct and fitting bow.

October
19th Oct – Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete’s
20th Oct – Kendal [Venue TBC]
21st Oct – Manchester, The Eagle
26th Oct – Winchester, The Railway
27th Oct – Bristol, The Malt House
28th Oct Stroud, The Goods Shed

December
5th Dec – London, Sebright Arms
6th Dec – Brighton, Hope and Ruin

Illumine is available now. Keep up with Low Chimes here.

elephant fire, natural heart

elephant fire, natural heart

Recently, Earth-based psych-rock collective Elephant Fire – made up of musicians Adam Wall, Steve Wall, Zac Colwell, and Dave Hellman –  released their seven track full-length Natural Heart. Inspired by a six month journey into North America’s national parks, this album is a remarkable tribute to the beauty of the world around us, something that is easily noticeable from the very beginning with the first vintage punk-tinged track “Natural Heart”. “Come With Me” begins with a slower, more hard-hitting tempo, imploring you to “relax your feels and have some tea, come with me,” which sounds like a pretty neat idea to us, as we sit here writing this in the middle of the work week. (Looking around the office, completely unamused.)

Third track “Lovers In The Bike Lane” begins with that line exactly, then drags you into its groove with quirky bike bells and light, ethereal cymbals. Begging you to take him somewhere, anywhere, the track ends with a “ting” and throws you right into the keyboard-fueled intro of “Burn Me Up”. The keys end abruptly, and you’re pulled into a world of pure rock, as the sounds swirl you around through a fiery kaleidoscope of early love. And while “It’s Alright” begins with a cacophony of light instrumentals, the repetition of the line “It’s Alright” makes you realize that – even with the quirky sound effects that don’t quite seem as though they belong – everything is going to be A-OK.

“It’s Rising” has a little bit more of a dark undertone to it, though we wouldn’t necessarily call it dark. Wall’s vocals are breathy, more sultry in their conviction. There are parts of the track that make you feel like you might be losing your damn mind, but those are the pieces that make this such an incredible head banging track, so we’re all for it. And, just like that, “Karmic Siege” sieges the spotlight as the final track of Natural Heart, leading its listeners into a mid-tempo instrumental section that speaks to the hippie in all of us.

Our normally insatiable eardrums are pleased.

Natural Heart is available now. Keep up with Elephant Fire here.

donora talks sun to me, “risky business” style

donora talks sun to me, “risky business” style

On October 27th, we will get the undeniable pleasure of welcoming Pittsburgh-based pop/rock collective Donora‘s fourth full-length Sun To Me into the world. The trio’s most recent single – a light, fresh track titled “This Heart” – gives us a sneak peek into what’s to come, but we wanted to know more. So we sat down with the band to learn the ins and outs, while begging the important questions… like how do you get along with your sibling in a creative and professional environment?

Clearly, it’s something we have yet to master.

What is the first album/song you remember hearing, and who introduced it to you?

The first album I bought with my own money was the Lion King Soundtrack (not sure if that one counts).  Around the same time my brother bought me the (What’s the Story) Morning Glory album by Oasis for my birthday.  I think he bought it for me so that he could steal it and listen to it himself, but I ended up loving that album and still do!  I wouldn’t let him have it.

Casey and Jake… As siblings, do you two get along, or are there kerfuffles? What’s the dynamic like?

We definitely get along!  Jake is 5 years older than me, so there has never been that competitiveness or clashing that sometimes happens when siblings are closer in age.  In fact, we weren’t all that close growing up (I think I was just his annoying little sister for a long time).  But when we started playing music together that all changed.  We’re pretty good at acknowledging each other’s strengths and our own weaknesses.  Since we grew up in the same home, I think we also have a very similar style of communication, which helps keep us on the same page most of the time.  Sure there’s the occasional kerfuffle, but at the end of the day we’re family.

“Sun To Me” feels like the track at the end of an inspiring movie, begging its audience to leave with light hearts and chase their dreams. How do you imagine people listening to it? I hope people indulge in this song Risky Business style.  Music cranked, comfy clothes (i.e. pants off), dancing around their house, lip synching (or better yet singing along at the top of their lungs), just doing them.  One person dance parties are the best.

What inspired that track, specifically?

Well this one started out as a love song.  It’s about someone being a source of light in your life. But while we were recording this song, I was pregnant.  I now have a 10 month old daughter and so this song takes on a slightly different meaning for me because of that.  Actually, a lot of the songs on the album mean something different to me now than they did when we were first writing them.

 You have admitted your fourth album is about love and the light music can bring to your life. We’ve certainly struggled with darker times lately, and were wondering what your go-to tracks have been in the past to keep your chin up?
One song that can always brighten my mood is The Cure’s “Friday I’m In Love”. There’s something about that song that always just makes me feel happy.What is your favorite track off the upcoming release? Any particular reason?

“So Simple” is one of the ones that changed meanings drastically for me throughout this process. It started as a song about the joy a simple smile can bring to your life.  Then it morphed into a love song.  Then while we were recording the vocals, I was 8 months pregnant and feeling my baby move, so I couldn’t help but imagine what it would be like when my child smiled at me.  I can say now that it truly is extraordinary! I guess that’s why it’s my favorite on the album.

If you could collaborate with any artist on any medium, who would you choose and what would you create?

I would love to make a movie with Paul Thomas Anderson.  I have always been fascinated with the story of his collaboration with Aimee Mann for Magnolia.  We’ve done a little bit of film work in the past, and it has been so much fun.  Trying to create the perfect mood for a specific scene is such a rewarding challenge!

What are you most excited about with the upcoming release of Sun To Me?

I’m just excited for people to finally hear it.  We’ve been working on it for a long time so it will feel good to actually put it out there!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I think it’s important to be vocal about what you believe in and to stay engaged.  But I also think it’s important to give yourself a break and forget about it all every once in a while.  We hope this album can help provide that necessary escape!

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Get that necessary escape on October 27th, when Sun To Me drops. It is available for preorder now. Keep up with Donora here.