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London-based indie-rock quintet Tempesst have announced their debut album Must Be A Dream will be released September 30th, via Pony Recordings. Along with the album announcement, the band are also releasing the album’s first single “On The Run”, out today alongside a candid studio video directed by the band’s very own Andy Banjanin.
A vivid, expansive sample of the band’s upcoming full length; “On The Run” and the forthcoming album follow Tempesst’s two previously released EP’s ‘Adult Wonderland’ and ‘Doomsday’, both widely lauded for their ’60s and ’70s influenced indie-psych fusion.
On new single “On The Run” the band layer vocal harmonies on top of reverb heavy instrumentation orchestrated far and wide into a massive psychedelic pop exploration. It’s all brought back to earth by Tempesst vocalist Toma Banjanin’s slithering baritone and stories of death, substance abuse and the loss of innocence forever.
Speaking on the new single, singer Toma shared: “‘On The Run’ was written about a close friend who disappeared for a decade and returned as someone completely different, and it’s an ongoing trauma. When I connected the music to the lyrics to try and finish the song, it felt like it had a rolling rhythm, so the chorus fell into place from there. For me, this song carries a lot more emotional weight.”
Consisting of Sunshine Coast, Australia born twin brothers Toma (vocals, guitars) and Andy Banjanin (drums); the band is rounded out by fellow Australian’s Kane Reynolds (keys) and Blake Misipeka (bass), and Swiss/American guitarist Eric Weber. Now all residing in London where upcoming debut album Must Be A Dream was written and recorded, Tempesst have become well known for their sweeping, psych-touched indie rock.
Produced by longstanding collaborator Elliot Heinrich, and mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer (known for his work with Parquet Courts, Temples, Yak, and Sorry), Must Be A Dream came together at the band’s very own Pony Studios, a studio space that Tempesst built themselves in Hackney, East London. A massive step forward from their previous short format releases, Must Be A Dream is a wide-eyed excursion of folk-tinged psychedelia with nods to Spiritualized, Galaxie 500, the Flaming Lips and the Beach Boys.
Ten tracks of psychedelic pop grandiosity, combining the classic teachings of Laurel Canyon-esque folk harmonization with bombastic sensibilities found in the works of Love, ELO, Pink Floyd, Wings and more. Must Be A Dream is a paradox of complexity and musical prowess shrouded beneath deceivingly simple pop melodies, producing a dense, sun-kissed record that explores themes of identity, purpose, ageing, love, loss, substance abuse, the death of loved ones and remembering the beauty beneath it all.
Tempesst’s new single “On The Run” is out now, released June 17th. Debut album Must Be A Dream is released September 30th, via Pony Recordings.
Delta Spirit have announced their first new album in six years, What Is There, out on September 11th via New West Records.
Their New West Records debut follows their acclaimed 2014 studio album Into The Wide, of which Uncut said the band “… progressively unleash waves of measured ferocity… toward payoffs that are staggering in their intensity.” What Is There was recorded at Sonic Ranch outside of El Paso, TX, produced by the band and mixed by Tchad Blake (U2, Black Keys), and is dedicated to the memory of their friend and musical inspiration, Richard Swift.
The powerful, cinematic video was directed by Michael Parks Randa and shot during the Covid-19 pandemic at over 30 locations throughout North America. After speaking with roughly 70 cinematographers to learn about their particular circumstances, Randa directed 30 individuals across the country to safely document an intimate portrait of Americans in isolation. Randa said “The result is a celebration of the collaborative spirit of filmmaking, a successful experiment in safely navigating production during the pandemic, and a mosaic of America during this time.”
Formed in Southern California in 2005, Delta Spirit took an extended break after supporting their acclaimed effort Into The Wide. “In 2015, we were getting along like family gets along,” admits frontman Matthew Logan Vasquez. “That means sometimes we didn’t like each other too much. We were just growing apart. When we took a break and the band stopped, the friendships got an opportunity to come back.” He offers, “Personality-wise, our band is five contrarians trying to agree on an idea. When your similarity is that you’re contrarian, it’s tough. But when things work out, it’s incredible.”
Over the past six years, Matthew Logan Vasquez has released and toured behind three celebrated solo albums, multi-instrumentalist Kelly Winrich launched a career as a producer (Nathaniel Rateliff), while bassist Jonathan Jameson, guitarist Will McLaren, and drummer Brandon Young collaborated and toured with Sam Outlaw, Mikky Ekko, the Los Angeles band Muna, among others. The band members now call Manhattan, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Austin, and Montreal home, and reconvened in Brooklyn, NY for a jam session in 2018. Vasquez says, “When we played together, we found the same joy and took it deeper.”
Delta Spirit not only return, but move forward together on What Is There. They wrote and recorded from a new place informed by maturity gained by their journey, break, and reunion. They locked into the process together and eventually found the sweet spot where they were all on the same page. Vasquez says, “I’m really proud of our body of work, but especially proud of where everybody has gotten to now. I have a lot of hope for us. I’m grateful for everyone in this band. There’s a lot of raw honesty in the music. It’s a record for right now, instead of pandering to the past. It’s the next step.” As much as What Is There reflects their journey thus far, it also ushers them into new territory as both musicians and, most importantly, friends.
What Is There will be available across digital platforms, on compact disc, and standard black vinyl. A limited to 500 Clear with Black Marble Vinyl Edition will be available at Independent Retailers, a limited to 350 Coke Bottle Clear & White, Hand-Poured Color Vinyl Edition will be available exclusively through the Magnolia Record Club, while an exclusive Opaque Yellow & Black Marble Vinyl edition is available for Pre-Order NOW via NEW WEST RECORDS.
What Is There Track Listing
1. The Pressure
2. It Ain’t Easy
3. How Bout It
4. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
5. Better Now
6. Home Again
7. Making Sense
8. Lover’s Heart
9. Just the Same
10. What Is There
“The song is relatively old, having been written in 2013, while I was still in college, it started off as a much more “pop” sounding tune, with a faster tempo, in the vein of ‘Thudthumping’ by Chumbawumba. The original version of the track actually featured in some student film, that I never got to see and know nothing about, but it never officially released.”
Interesting coincidence considering Mechner’s heavy interest in cinema.
After working with Ed Tullett (Novo Amor, Hailaker) on his previous Silhouettes EP, garnering praise from Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and opening for Rhye at London’s KOKO, JJ returns with a delicate and emotional selection of tracks.
JJ’s new single ‘…if you’re awake in the night’ and the upcoming EP “The Theft and The Flight” has all the tenderness and artistry of Sufjan Stevens, Nick Mulvey and Bon Iver while also capturing its own voice and tone. Acoustic guitar-led with soft falsetto vocals, incorporating subtle, dappled sampling, electronics and piano, the new work is an exploration of JJ’s rich and intense, emotional soundscapes.
Following his first EP, JJ went back into the studio to arrange a new body of work. Having spent the early years of his career as a top-liner and collaborator, he thought it time to take a considerable catalogue of songs to his band and work with singular vision to create the sound he wanted.
Speaking on ‘…if you’re awake in the night’ and the new EP JJ said:
“Returning home in March last year to a police cordon around the car park of my flat, I turned on the news to discover that a young man had been brutally murdered on my doorstep. Not having a real insight into the growing culture of gang violence in London, I wrote ‘…if you’re awake in the night’ to chronicle the surreal experience of those who come inadvertently into contact with a troubling world they don’t understand.
I wanted all my new music to be honest and grounded, both lyrically and in the way it was recorded. I spent months experimenting at Natural Habitat Studios working with many great musicians to make something I hope feels homespun, authentic and vivid.”
Listen to JJ Draper’s new single “…if you’re awake in the night” here below and read on to get to know the mind behind the music.
Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?
My earliest memories of loving music are in the family car, probably. I’ve got 3 older brothers and we had this enormous space wagon (Toyota Previa RIP) that took us all down to Wales for holidays. We listened to loads of Travelling Wilburys, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix.
When I first started to think about music making more deeply-focusing on HOW it was made – I was in my early teens. My brother had introduced me to Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake and it set the wheels in motion toward an obsessive listening period where I absorbed every influence I could.
Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?
It’s a very loose process but is consistently the way I write best so I suppose it’s a formula! I improvise on a guitar (and sometimes piano), often in deranged tunings, and find a progression or part that excites me. Then I’ll begin making melodies and improvised lyrics over that. At that point, the melody and mood start to determine how the progression develops from section to section. I’ll record all this in voice notes until a whole structure is complete and only after that do I sit down and write a structured lyric, often incorporating the nice parts of any improvised moments of attitude and creativity. I write prolifically ‘til I have a load of stuff to record then lose interest in it ‘til I’ve cleared the decks in the studio.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Difficult to say. I have an internal motor that is always running and a restless energy. My friends and family will do impressions of me “flapping” which is a collective term for all the various pacing, arm waving, hand twitching stuff I get up to when I’m visualising. I sort of black out and have these intense periods of focus and creativity and move around a lot. It’s odd. Although I write honestly about things that happen to me or around me, I think the inspiration is more from the feel and sound of the arrangement I’m imagining. The desire to reach that “goosebump” feeling, that moving unique ambiguous feeling that great musicians have given me my whole life. The song can really be about anything but I’m looking to initiate that ecstatic release for myself and for others.
As a musician, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?
Where to start? There’s a lot I’d change about myself, society, humanity, people! Nah, to be honest, I understand the things I find frustrating in the music industry – there’s a lot of fear and a lack of ambition. For instance, an example of what I deem to be bad business, is the pop industry’s obsession with trying to replicate the success of another artist by finding soundalikes. It’s astonishing to me that a lot of money (and there still is a lot of money out there, no matter what people hear) gets poured into artists who are the “next Adele” etc. It’s a sure fire way of getting a quick, decent return on an investment but shortsighted, lacking in ambition and real creativity. I hate the thought of great singers or songwriters being forced to mould themselves around something that has already been. The audience wants new things. Of course you have to trust in the development and packaging of a new thing, but that’s what the industry should be investing in. I don’t mean everyone needs to be a radical, but an honest perspective will always be “new” in some sense, have a unique sound and voice. That and the fact that labels etc are so risk averse that artists often have to be at the stage of self-sufficiency to attract them – like “hmmm, there’s a captive audience that we can jump in on and take a cut of” rather than giving talented people the infrastructure to succeed.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, which do you prefer?
Impossible question! I’ve been performing since I was 4, was an actor predominantly til I was 21 and the “golden glow” of being on stage, the charged silences and the roar of applause is heaven. I love making people laugh, too, there’s no better feeling. BUT, it does have a tendency to leave you hollow and on a downer, like any drug. The studio and writing, however, is a much more lasting pleasure. The songs continue to make me proud and excited to share, and there are definitely some real moments of ecstasy when you start to realise a sound and it’s just as good as you imagined. I can’t say. I think I prefer performing, JUST.
What is the most memorable response you have had to your music?
I love hearing people have had shivers or tears because that’s always how I’ve judged how much I love something. I have to say, though, at one of our last headline shows at The Grace – having an entire audience belting out the chorus of Gwythian so loud I stopped singing, and turning to my band who were all grinning, was incredibly special. It just felt such a positive thing to share with people.
What’s on your current playlist?
Big Thief UFOF, Wilco Ode to Joy, Todd Rundgren Can We Still Be Friends? I should say I tend to listen obsessively to a few things and not go through reams and reams.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you in the near future?
I’ve got an EP out on 3rd July which includes two new tracks and the two singles I’ve released in the past month. I’m so proud of it, particularly excited to share one of the songs which I think is my favourite piece of production/arrangement that Joey Walker and I have done. After that I’ve got what I hope is a bit of a belting single which is a deliberate and violent diversion in style and then another 4 songs to release whilst recording a full album. At some point, I shall get back to gigging with the band and make 2 videos that were in planning before COVID 19.
Famous last words?
“I told you I was ill” – Spike Milligan got there first unfortunately…
We’ve seen a few inventive music videos come our way in the last few months as a result of current circumstances. Some of them are wonderfully creative and others shine with simplicity. One of our favourites so far is the music video for ‘Dark and Depressive’ from Indie-rock duo Oxen, who filmed theirs in an old gym.
“It was somewhat hard finding a film crew, or the money to pay them, when there was a raging pandemic going on. But there’s this kind of old school gym in the same building I live in and although neither of us got a lot of experience lifting heavy stuff, there was a certain vibe and smell that went well together with our visual goal for this video.” – Oxen share the story behind the video.
One can only imagine the smell the pair had to contend with while shooting the video. However, the stoic attitude maintained throughout provides a twisted sense of humour that appeals to us right now. We think it will probably appeal to you too. Check it out below:
Spanish-Brit quartet Reme come back with a second single – and a charmingly disturbing video – after its previous release, Royal Cape, was named one of the best new songs so far in 2020 by Spain’s Radio 3 RNE.
Alongside comparisons to the latest album from Arctic Monkeys, their music has also been linked to other contemporaries such as Foxygen, The Divine Comedy, Once and Future Band, and Halloweens. Among the classics, names like T. Rex, Wings, Elton John or George Harrison have also been mentioned.
Following Royal Cape – a bold, no-radio edit, one-minute-guitar-solo-intro, over-five-minutes-long debut release – Reme return with Gaga, a short, melodic and dreamy ballad, accompanied by a colourful, other-worldly, Lynch-esque video.
The clip explores, through the eyes of an eerie, jester-looking character, the idea of what happens to potential realities that shouldn’t exist in the material universe.
Building off the success of her self-titled debut album, LÉON delivers her second single of the year ‘Who You Lovin’- a contemporary track that evokes elements of the 70’s mixed with her signature sad girl indie vibe. With a more assertive sound, LÉON gets candid about feeling haunted by a lost relationship and unapologetically wondering who they are lovin’. It’s the type of heart break hit you’ll keep on repeat after a breakup, right before the glow up.
“‘Who You Lovin’ is a song that I wrote a while back ago with my close friend and producer, Martin Stilling,” LÉON explains of how the song came about. “I recall feeling kind of frustrated over a certain situation when we wrote it and that the lyrics came out right away, pretty much. It was as if i felt a mixture of being mad and really tired of someone, but also a strong need to be seen and feeling wanted at the same time. So all of those emotions ended up in this song. It feels like I’ve waited for the right moment to release ‘Who You Lovin’ so i’m really happy that I get to share it with everybody now. I hope people will like it.”
The critically acclaimed Swedish artist also plans to release her sophomore full-length studio album later this year through LÉON Recordings, her imprint partnership with BMG.
Since releasing her career debut single in 2015, LÉON has consistently delivered with every release, demonstrates her knack for crafting emotive, tender, and unforgettable pop songs. The songstress has amassed over 440 million total global streams and is a regular critic’s favourite in the press, racking up praise from the likes of Vogue, Glamour, In-Style, The Fader, and more. In addition to making her late-night television debut on The Late Late Show with James Corden, she has sold out many headline shows worldwide and performed at U.S. festival staples including Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza.
Saint Mars have been a band on our radar for some time now, specifically since they released their single, ‘Help’ via Grá Mór Phonic Records last year. As such, we definitely took note when they released their latest single, ‘Pacific State’ via their new label, AntiFragile Music and, to our joy, an accompanying music video. You can read our feature on their previous single here.
Lead singer, Tryzdin shares his thoughts on the making of the music video, “This video means a lot to me. I was 13 and was making my first ever trip to Switzerland. I will never forget the nerves and the anxious emotions I felt on the way there and the rest of the trip. Pacific State is a video that will give you post-apocalyptic vibes. I see it as a world after WW3 and they are all trying to survive as well as find survivors that may have been lost in all the wreckage. We come across a girl on the side of the mountain and Marc sends me to follow her as he heads back to tell the others about our discovery. But as I follow her, I notice she has a map that is leading her right to us. I head back to the base to tell the others. We hear the castle doors creak open…. and we realize that it is the same girl we had seen on the mountain, we stand guard but not for long as we realize that the girl that we had been following was just a little girl trying to find a safe place to call home all along.”
We can see why this music video would make the young singer proud. Between scenic landscapes most musicians can only dream of, a Herculean storyline and the appearance of Jethro “Alonestar” Sheeran to provide his unique twist, the video marks itself as one for the books. In an additional twist, Saint Mars have begun a competition on their Youtube page, inviting viewers to comment and like their video in return for the chance to win 100$ and 50$ in online store vouchers.
Swedish singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Simon Alexander emerged in 2017 with the self-released debut EP Won’t Be Found, breathing new air into the modern folk scene. By continuously releasing several self-recorded acoustic tracks he quickly gained recognition for his profound lyrics and heartfelt vocal melodies, getting comparisons to Matt Corby and Dylan LeBlanc.
After a collaboration with producer Tobias Ekqvist, from Hurricane Love, two singles, Slide and Last Dance, was born and later released in 2018 after a signing with Swedish record label Rehn Music Group.
The new singles showed a wider range of songwriting, venturing into a more pop-infused direction, and was featured on Spotify curated playlists such as New Music Friday in several countries.
After touring various parts of Scandinavia, with prominent shows on SPOT Festival 2019 and Live At Heart, Simon went in the studio to record the upcoming release, resulting in EP ‘In The Rust’ which will be released later this year. The first single – ‘Move Steady’ – is due release September 13th.
With fans from all over the world, an eye-catching live act, and songs featured in all kinds of media ranging from video games, radio, to larger YouTube channels, Simon Alexander is destined to take a huge leap this year on becoming a household name on the indie/folk scene.
Simon Alexander appeared in a feature on Exit Through Sound