Immigration Unit – formed in April 2017 – is comprised of four musicians that are sporadically located between Basel, Torino, Geneva, and Caracas. In such a short amount of time, they are already independently releasing their debut EP Sofa Heroes on June 29th, 2018.
This premiere – which we are hosting exclusively – will absolutely shake your soul to its very core.
Let’s get this straight. I’m not telling you to go out an do drugs. You don’t need to. Save your money. “Immigration Unit” is not only the drug itself, they are the trip, the atmosphere, the sights, and the sounds. Their brand of experimental psychedelic alternative unpredictably teases and borderlines loungey, intense, melodic stoner rock. In a way they’re comparable to Beck, but less spastic. Way less spastic. You could actually chill to Immigration Unit even though there are at times just so many sounds and things going on.
The title track, “Sofa Heroes” is subtly electronic and dreary. Its start may seem abrasive and noisy but just wait. The bass line has an off-key groove while the vocals just slowly weave in and out. From a spoken word to an overdriven noisy pre-chorus. Capturing every emotion the way a year holds 4 changes of season.
“Wasting Mornings” travels an unknown winding road. Anticipatingly frightening as without warning turning the corner and sustaining a bumpless cruising speed. Unblemished vocals radiate so delicately. being accompanied by a droning silky smooth guitar line. The only predictable aspect of “Immigration Unit” is their unpredictability. as another abrupt change from subtle becomes overtaken by a drab tone that sees the vocals evolve like the wind commanding the storm to commence.
The remixed version of “Sofa Heroes” hesitantly departs from the trippy original and has a much darker texture. A trap beat is later consumed by an almost industrial feel with the utilization of thicker electronics and dirty percussive sounds.
Overall the EP is a manic mix of an unmedicated rollercoaster, This has got to be one of the better releases I’ve heard this year. Why? Well, it’s original. It’s obscure. It’s not thrown together. It literally has a directional purpose and allows you to travel with it.
Get all the details about the official release of Immigration Unit, “Sofa Heroes” by visiting their website and don’t forget to follow them on Facebook.
The Rareflowers have defined the beauty in true love and the how we often take it for granted when we feel comfortable. Its only after the fact when they are gone that you realize how it really kicks in the intensity of loss and being alone. Don’t worry guys, with indie sensitive songs like “New Generation” you won’t be alone for long. With a clean, heart on sleeve delivery this band consisting of brothers Jimmy (guitar, vocals)) and Kane Maraday (bass) and Aaron Gollubier (drums) will be releasing their self-titled debut E.P. June 29th, 2018 via Good Eye Records. Formed in 2013 The Rareflowers trio from New Brunswick, NJ, has not 1 but 2 singles released thus far giving us a little insight into what to expect from the E.P. Not to mention plans are already in the works for a full-length album.
“New Generation” is overall a warm sing-along style song that begins rather romantically.
The band commented on the song by saying, ” You’ll give your best self at the beginning of a relationship. In time, things will change, but never enough to make you forget why you loved that person in the first place.” It’s a sad and beautiful truth as is the single as it sways in a gentle motion of down picking and up picking of the guitar.
The first single “Shake” is slowly paced but not a dramatic ballad. The chorus is where the tempo picks up and gives a little of a Tom Petty vibe. Semi-folkish with a modern alternative touch. The vocals are soulful in their expression and delivery while the melody is as charming as a prom date in the perfect attire opening the door for his lady. The midsection offers a psychedelic strum before continuing the journey down a desolate path with cries of “Baby.”
While the band looks young in pictures they have a very defined and mature sound that makes it seem hard to believe this is their debut. They have captured all the elements needed to get more than just a listen and nod. Subtle verses that tell a story, catchy hooks in the chorus lines that make it stick in your memory and of course that alternative indie appeal. The production value is clear and makes each instrument shine while the vocals have a hall style verb giving it full spectrum surround in the forefront. The honesty in lyric writing and musical integrity will be a surefire with the ladies too.
Once you give it a listen and they win you over you can keep up with them on their Facebook page.
Lolaa, consisting of Toronto-based sisters Lex Valentine & Nadia Valerie King will release a Spanish version of their debut EP on June 8th. The musical project allows the sisters to explore their Mexican heritage, taking inspiration from Latin American 80’s pop music. The EP is a soulful approach with Latin-inspired instrumentation. Similar to that of Gloria Estefan minus the pop American influence and hiding the cultural percussion in the background. Lolaa puts them in the forefront and the result is a feel good, twilight, dancing in the streets fiesta.
“Lola” – the song bearing the proper spelling of the band’s namesake, meaning “Lady of Sorrows” – sways slowly in a gentle breeze accompanied by impactful and heartfelt vocals. While the verses are sung solo and with minimal instrumentation the chorus is filled out by an overlay of vocals giving it a thicker, meatier, stronger delivery. “Cancion 6” has a passionate vibe and produces a lot of warmth. Taking some influence from a 70’s disco ballad with a swaggering groove, intense pre-chorus vocal melody that leads the way for a full-on Pop anthem chorus. I have no clue what they are saying, but I feel the need to sing along. Maybe I will make up my own words. Could be fun.
Thus far Lolaa is bringing the synth-pop and danceable rhythms even during the slower paced songs. Embracing all the emotions in life and creating a sound that despite the mood or event, you can dance. “Barricada” demonstrates an almost haunting calling. While the beat boasts a Casio powered hi-hat and a simplistic stock snare kick combination the vocals definitely take the bull by the horns. I think this track could easily be even more dramatic and impactful a cappella aside from the ending with the comforting sound of an old music box. While none of the tracks are high energy they maintain a joggers pace and are in the key of motivation and are cinematically dramatic, the key of each song designed to appeal directly to the heart of your emotions.
Lolaa has a unique sound as you can definitely and obviously pick up on the Latin influence, as these tracks are En Espanol, but the music itself has a fusion of American pop, latin and old-school instruments, Canadian imagination and an immense of amount of passion. Don’t let the language barrier stop you from checking them out. You don’t need words to express an exact message. Tone and delivery will impact you just the same. A video premiere for the single “Espiritu” has been released via Nylon Espanol to hold you over until the E.P. is released.
July 12th Coney Island Baby at 8 pm New York, NY
August 4th Handlebar’s at 8 pm Toronto, ON
Founded in 2013, this up and coming L.A. alternative indie rock band Goon is celebrating their recent singing to Partisan Records. Success is coming quickly for these guys and the reason why is easy to grasp. Their latest single “Choke Throat” plays like a soundtrack to a suspended gaze to the skies. Vocalist Kenny Becker has said the song revolves around a surgery to correct a sinus condition and the after effects that followed. A feeling of throat closure led to what we get to hear as “Choke Throat”.
Starting out with an acoustic sway “Choke Throat” is joined by vocals that echo down a long hall and drone with melancholic subtleties. What has started as sad converts into eerie as sounds in reverse are inserted and a percussive sound picks up the pace and ads texture. The gentle abstract sway also features a touch of saxophone that progressively rises from the distance and takes center stage. If joined by an orchestra the song would have taken the direction of cinematic, the use of the saxophone takes the mood to a jazz induced eye opener. If I hadn’t told you what the song was about, the music alone would make it sound like a more introspective moment about the pondering of life. “Choke Throat” is one of those songs that can be interpreted in many different ways. A benefit of this is that it will affect many people as they will take what they need from it. When the chorus section becomes more full and robust the song doesn’t seem so sad. It feels like the light at the end of the tunnel.
Partisan will be re-printing Goons two self-released E.P.’s Dusk of Punk and Happy Omen, pre-orders are being taken now and are set to ship out July 13th. You can secure your copy, which will also feature “Choke Throat”, through the band’s Bandcamp page and more order details can be found on their website. Don’t forget to follow them on Facebook.
If you happen to reside in one the town Goon will be touring, defiantly grab some tickets as they are one of the few “must see” bands that are rising fast. This could be a rare opportunity to see them in a smaller environment before they end up arena giants.
July 13th – Brooklyn, NY
July 15th – Washington, DC
July 16th – Richmond, VA
Jul 21st – Dallas, TX
Michael Kight grew up in Dublin, Georgia, playing guitar since age 12. Influenced by Motown and Elvis as a child, he later came into his own inspired by the sounds of 90’s R&B. Always having a deep-rooted passion for music, he moved to Nashville and played with several musicians as well as took up producing. Wanting to break out and establish himself he auditioned for The Voice. Before auditioning for The Voice, he played guitar for Season 3 artist Amber Carrington. Now it’s his time to shine and front the show with his single, “Clear”, and we have the exclusive premiere. Here is the scoop on the sound of the new single.
“Clear” begins like a true R&B hit. Smooth and soulful vocals with soft jazz keys. As the intro transitions to verse joining the mix is a laid-back hip-hop beat and a slow romantically grooving bass line. Michael has a great mid-range voice that may throw some listeners as he sounds extremely ethnically cultured. He can also hit those high notes without any breaks, shakes, or vocal strain. Pre-chorus he is accompanied by reverse synth notes, finger snaps, and excellently placed vocal overdubs. The bass and drum find perfect harmony as they pump and pulsate like a beating human heart. It’s a deep punch as they strike, but it’s not overpowering to the song. It’s the right amount of slow jam and subwoofer teasing bass.
While the lyrics are semi-romantic asking a girl to be clear in her intentions, it’s pretty clear she caused a little damage. Enough to question if it was real, to begin with. It’s a real question as he states “even if hurts.” The midsection has a creative synth replicating jazz horns. The build is subtle and the song comes back in in a way that is refreshing. Allowing the music to be felt before slowly fading away.
It’s been made very clear that Micheal Kight has the vocal range, instrument and producer skill, a lot of experience in the background and is now ready to take and own center stage.
Find more details on his website and don’t forget to follow him on Facebook for more.
This is awesome. I’m a contradiction as I describe Ängie’s sound as smooth, subtle and in your face. But I bet I sparked your curiosity. From Sweden is trap pop artist Angie. Her debut album, suicidal since 1995, is set to drop on April 6th 2018 through Universal. This album is full of soothing bass, 808’s, and lounge-style vocals. If you are uptight or sheltered this album will pull your panties right out of their wad.
If you are easily offended, this may or may not be for you. The overall reception since Angie started up has been a 50/50 of love/hate. I absolutely love her straightforward, to the point, and consciously realistic lyrics. Let’s face it life isn’t all bubblegum and rainbows. The album’s opener, “Dope”, is smooth, sexy, and lyrically states, “If I’m also on dope when I make music, maybe my music will sound like dope.” Ängie described the track as, “a love song, but within it, I confuse love with the rush for music and drugs. It’s a love song to music, dope and the person that makes me wanna fight for it.” That statement is well back by the tracks verse line, “You got a place to rest and that’s between my thighs I press against your chest and then I realize.” “Here for my habit” depicts the relationship between the addict and the dealer and when the dealer pushes sexual advances. Thank You but no Thank You, “I’m here for my habit.”
It seems there isn’t a shortage of critics who are appalled by Ängie’s lyrics, image, and at times “fck you” attitude. This has me semi-thrown considering the lyrical content of death metal and gangsta rap. It cannot be because she is a young female since there have been female artists like Cycle Sluts from Hell and Liz Phair who were pushing the envelope in the 90’s. Is it geographical? Sweden has given us a slew of melodic death metal bands and industrial artist Tim Skold. Ängie referred to Sweden as being “too sensitive.” (Get with the times, folks. Women aren’t cooking, cleaning, Holy Homemakers anymore and haven’t been for quite some time.)
Ängie has an astonishing vocal talent. A jazzy lounge style but with an Adele type of projection in the way that it seems to come effortless and more soulful than produced. Laying predominantly in the veins of electronic, trap, and chill, there are at times R&B hints. Suicidal Since 1995 is pioneering the continuous push for expressive freedoms. Musically the production value is above par and if you have some good subwoofers in your trunk, you’ll get the best back massage.
The album closes out with a great interpretation and revamping of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Venus In Furs’, which is hands down one of those songs you cringe at the thought of someone butchering it, but not in this instance. Surprisingly she not only did it justice, but she nailed it dead on.
Ängie has a lot of history that I don’t have enough room to write about here, but here is hoping you dig a little deeper into her past and how she defines herself and music. There is more than meets the eye. Her talent deserves applause not only for her ability as a musician but her willingness to go against the grain and express herself.
Don’t forget to follow Ängie via Facebook. She is definitely an artist that belongs in your playlist.
Power pop rocking Canadians Danny Laj & The Looks have a new single ‘left right to one’ that was released digitally on March 30th, 2018. I went and checked out the bands’ bio and was instantly intrigued when I read their influences. “Peanut butter and banana hotdogs.”
That kind of humor will give you some insight into what to expect musically. This has got to be a fun.
And sure enough “Left Right To One” is nothing short of a fun-loving feel good song.
The track starts up like a loud high energy pop rock freight train right out of the gate.
Laj is a Canadian scene veteran who has put in his time working from the ground up and has established a sound that is reminiscent of an old-school fun pop-rock guitarist.
“Left Right To One” is a witty and monumental tribute to sharing interests, life experiences, and enjoying rock n roll with bassist Jeanette Dowling. A true celebration of a unity that was written in the stars. Rounding out the rest of the band are members Mike Duffield – Drums and Dan McMahon – Keys. With a surf rock vocal style, a George Thorogood guitar style, a faint organ in the background and non-lexical vocables in the chorus singing,”oh la la la”, “Left right to one” will fill the air with old-school radio power pop rock good times with a modern approach.
I loved the mid-song breakdown how everything got a little quieter with light backing vocals, steady bass, palm muted rhythm, and gentle drum taps that gradually led up to a powerful guitar solo. The solo is an in the pocket groove more so than and egocentric scribble of notes. “Left right to one” is melodic, upbeat, and instills a great vibe. All these things combined kinda make ya wanna open the shades and dance like no ones watching as you grab your broom and use it as a microphone… and maybe do a little air guitar on it.
To get in the good times be sure to follow Danny Laj and the Looks on Facebook and pick up a vinyl copy of the single “Left right to one” through their website.
You can also check them out on tour.
April 6 – North Bay ON – Raven & Republic
April 7 – Sudbury ON – Townehouse Tavern
April 25 – Toronto ON – Dakota Tavern
April 27 – Montreal Qc – Barfly
April 28 – Saint-John NB – Quality Block Party
April 29 – Moncton NB – TBA
April 30 – Boston MA – O’Brien’s
May 3 – Brooklyn NY – Diviera Drive
May 4 – Baltimore MD – Joe Squared
May 5 – Washington DC – Slash Run
May 6 – Philadelphia PA – Ortlieb’s
May 8 – Dayton OH – Blind Bob’s
May 9 – Indianapolis IN – Melody Inn
May 10 – Chicago IL – Burlington
May 11 – Rockford IL – Mary’s Place
May 12 – Detroit MI – Pj’s Lager House
May 13 – Windsor ON – Phog Lounge
May 16 – Hamilton ON – This Ain’t Hollywood
May 18 – London ON – Call The Office
May 19 – South River ON – Highlander Brew Co.
July 15 – Quebec City – Festival D’Ete de Quebec
Datarock‘s latest album, Face the Brutality, dropped March 9th through YAP records. DATAROCK is an 80’s recreating synth-rock band hailing from Norway, a place known more for its black metal. The band says the album’s title comes from a phrase they had heard prior and that, “coming from a city of black metal, and with a background in punk and trash metal, we found the title so utterly wrong for DATAROCK.”
Face the Brutality‘s first track, “BMX”, kicks off in good ol 80’s drum machine style. Joined in by an arpeggiated synth line that takes you back in time. I dropped a line to the band and asked,” why re-create that period of time?” Fredrik responded, “Probably just the fact that I grew up back then and have fond memories connected to those kinds sounds.” Seems, he isn’t alone. It’s becoming a trend and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon with aqua net and 80’s fever. There are contemporary sounds in this 80’s mix alongside some spunky lead guitar riffs, old school wah-wah, and some great group back up singers. Fredrik’s voice can range in the stylings of Beck, Sting, and even Sisters of Mercy as you get into the albums 4th track “Laugh in the Face of Darkness”, with its seductive sound. DATAROCK is a surefire for 80’s party like entertainment, not only through audio alone. Their stage show is top notch and made famous by wearing red tracksuits, in which you can purchase through their website. More than just a synth-driven pop band with punk influence the lyrics throughout have a poetic depth that can be thought pondering. When asked what track he was most stoked about Fredrik stated, “Today my favorite is the one named after a soap opera featured in Twin Peaks’s first season – Invitation to Love; a track that reinvents the ballad as a dance floor genre … and puts the reverb back on Kjetil Møster’s saxophone.” The track begins with drum and bass that is smoother than a baby’s butt. Mysterious like a hitman, and as sleek as a leatherette in an 80’s Porsche. The album ends on a punk-ish note with “Darkness at the Edge of the Pit.”
Overall the album hosts a series of hidden gems when it comes to musical diversity. DATAROCK have revamped the 80’s genre and polished it to perfection. When asked about the international reception Fredrik comments,”Over the years it’s been great! Like how we been able to play a thousand clubs and festivals in 36 counties on 5 continents – and how we ended up as 36 on NME’s list of albums of the year, or how Rolling Stone Magazine made Computer Vamp Love 88th beat of the yeast, etc. So far the best international response on the new album has been 5/5 in Music News and 4/5 in Classic Pop.”
In closing, what have we learned, Norway, more than just black metal, they’ve got DATAROCK. Go purchase your copy of Face the Brutality (or a tracksuit) from the bands’ website.
“How can I believe” is the first track from Steve Barton‘s latest album Tall Tales and Alibis. “How can I believe in God when you’re the one who’s divine?”, that line is absolutely brilliant. Part 1 of this 3 album release is filled with predominantly acoustic, folk-ish style music with a lot of great vocal harmonies. “Shadow of the Bride”, even with it being acoustic has a hint of some old punk influences as the song speeds up and states, “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, about you.” There are some elements of surf rock, old punk, and David Bowie. Steve’s vocal range produces a low, soothing, yet haunting tonal quality similar to Johnny Cash.
His diversity comes as no surprise when you start turning the pages of his resume. Having a publishing deal at the age of 14, touring in a Beatles cover band, and in 1979 forming the band Translator. Some would go as far to say Steve and Translator were the first actual “alternative” band.
Part 2 of the album is more melancholic. It’s as simple as a man and his guitar. A more serious and emotive feel that opens the door to explore his depth a little further. “Haunt me tonight” being the most upbeat track on part 2, shows no shortage of Steve’s amazing way with words that really paint a picture you can see and feel.
“Promises and miracles pour like honey down the street.” Grim yes, but man, why didn’t I think of that. He is truly the master of analogies.
“Wake up in roses” begins Part 3 and does it full on. Horns, full band, rawk, and roll. It’s astounding this is the same guy. Like a change of season, this 37 song triple album release covers every spectrum you could ever desire. For me, the true shining moment on Tall tales and Alibis is “She is the girl.” Returning with a blues style that is complemented by an organ creating a nicely dusted and subtle psychedelic aftertaste. The beat is straightforward, simple, and that perfect repetition that makes you just zone out into the song. So I was little disappointed when the song ended, that so could have kept going.
Seriously, if you have never heard of Steve Barton, let “She is the Girl” be the track that opens the door. He has captured the fantasy and reality of “that girl” far better than Sting did with “Roxanne.” The entire album is loaded with actual storytelling style songs that do not skimp on originality or brilliance.
Don’t be put off by the 37 tracks, you can purchase each song for only $0.99 from Steve’s Website or get the entire 3 part album for only $14.95.