I’d like to introduce you to a new artist on the scene named Edapollo. Ed Bidgood is an electronic producer and multi-instrumentalist based in Bristol, UK that is truly progressing the realm of where this type of music is going. His first public productions in late 2013 caused a stir in the underground electronic and ambient cultures. They were only demos at the time, but those first tracks, ‘Tisno’ & ‘Sundancer’ were picked up by a number of tastemaker blogs and online sources. The sudden attention to his atmospheric sound scapes and sonic artistry allowed the young producer to catch the ear of many and begin building a fan base. His debut EP, Shallow Swell, dropped earlier this month on February 3rd with the help of his independent label, Bad Panda Records. The EP contains 4 tracks which highlight his diverse artistic capabilities in songwriting, instrumentation, melodic progression and technical production. Check it out!
The ingenious use of samples, combined with truly unique sounds throughout the project make me want to leave it on repeat all day. Even the grooves allow you to slip into a new level of relaxation, something difficult to do with music from the general EDM scene. I asked edapollo what inspired the EP, and as it turns out, there are quite a few significant inspirations.
“Sundancer was produced last summer in that rare UK heatwave we had.
Tisno, was made after a holiday in Croatia – inspired by the location ‘Tisno’ and the sun!
Marcelo, was named after a boy that ran away from his home.
Breathing Lessons was inspired by that feeling of needing to relax and chill out after being surrounded by too much stress.”
Edapollo plans to work on some remixes and new productions this year, and is also working on some exciting collaborations. I will say right now, this is definitely a producer to keep a close eye on in 2014. I, for one, am highly anticipating the next release! Click on the album art below and stay connected so you don’t miss the next release.
By Steve Harpine | Digital Content Manager | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC
Jeremy Spencer may not be a household name, but the expert slide guitarist is one of the founding members of one of the biggest bands in rock and roll history. The original guitarist for Fleetwood Mac upon formation in 1967, its been 43 years since Spencer has toured the states. Though his solo US tour was cancelled for unspecified health concerns, I was fortunate enough to ask him a few questions regarding his new album, his past experiences and future prospects.
With nearly an entire lifetime of playing guitar, Spencer has mastered the art of slide guitar. With his past experiences, its interesting to see how his life and influences around him have actually shaped the direction in which his music has gone. “My past experiences have most likely influenced me, consciously or unconsciously, to go in the direction I have wanted to go with these recent projects.” He adds, “I did not want to again fall under the dictates of a big record company who is paying the bills and pushing me to conform to current trends or be intimidated by the opinions of too many people who had their ideas of how my music should be presented and performed. Sometimes it’s hard to strike a happy balance between doing it the way you feel it ought to be done, while listening to the counsel of others and their tastes.”
Spencer has been recently juggling several music ventures. He’s collaborated with singer/songwriter Andy Oliver to form Steetley, a blues/folk project from the UK. He has also just finished recording with French trio, Font of Bleue, which is Spencer seems quite ecstatic to be a part of. “It’s warm, gentle music, which is my preferred style these days.”
Along with these projects, Spencer is releasing a solo album, Coventry Blue. While showcasing Spencer’s talents as a guitarist, some songs have lyrics, while others remain strictly instrumentals. His reasoning is simple, “In retrospect, I think most of the instrumentals would have been songs if I had lyrics that had amply transmitted the emotion of the piece.” The styles are ever changing, yet theres a a consistency that ties the music together, a direction he states is based simply on his love of music.
“In a way it’s an appreciation for different styles of music, but I think it’s even more a reflection of what strikes my fancy at the moment! Sometimes I wake up with an idea of a tune in my head and I have to get my guitar, or I sit down at the piano and tinkle around and form chord sequences, or my funny bone gets a nudge and I want to write a spoof thing (such as ‘Durango’). ‘Coventry Blue’ material was recorded four years ago, and a particular feel and sound evolved during that time with the Detroit team influenced by the collective nature of the musicians, the studio ambience and how I was feeling at the time. I am now on an even gentler, cleaner and sparse sound than I was then, and that again is influenced by the same elements.”
Similarly, his previous album Bend in the Road (which has garnered rave reviews) showcased the talent that has landed him in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While his styles have changed drastically since Fleetwood Mac, heading away from harder rock and more towards the mellower blues oriented slide guitar, Spencer still proves that he has the talent and drive to create memorable tracks for years to come.
Lauren Wilson | San Diego Ambassador | @Twitter | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC
This week Santa Barbara synth-poppers Gardens & Villa put out a music video for “Bullet Train”, a standout track from their sophomore album Dunes that has many reviewers citing Prince as an influence. The vintage look and feel of the video and the music is intentional, matching up well with the analog synthesizers and mixing board used by Sly Stone that they and producer Tim Goldsworthy used to record the album. Goldsworthy is best known as co-founder, with James Murphy, of DFA Records, home of all that is indie and dance throughout most of the last decade. His influences tightens up the grooves, making for a more danceable record than their self-titled debut, whose folk influences were more readily apparent. This is where indie rock lives these days, and I, for one, am certainly not mad about it.
Gardens & Villa are currently on tour in North America until SXSW, after which they’ll depart for Europe with an act mining similar territory that is much more popular than themselves due to the members’ previous projects: Broken Bells. If they spend any time at all discussing pop hooks with James Mercer and Danger Mouse, their next album will be a sure hit. In the meantime, the undeniable rhythms and contemplative lyrics of songs like “Colony Glen” are sure to win them an expanded fanbase. If you care to be part of that, go see them at any of the following dates:
It will be interesting to see how their sound evolves moving forward, as they’ve already incorporated late-period Beatles psychedelia, of Montreal freak-folk, and everything in between into their diverse array of funky jams and introspective ballads. As it stands, a live show could be anything from a trippy journey through torchworthy singalongs to a sweaty dance party worthy of Studio 54. As such, they may find a home with the sort of festival crowd that has a difficult time deciding whether to catch Lotus or Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.
By Dave Fox | Philadelphia Ambassador | @philosofoxthedj | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC
The Paper Kites have been a close favorite of mine ever since they released “Bloom” from the Woodland EP in July 2011. I first heard it by coming across their brilliant video for the song, which now has over 4 million plays on YouTube. Sure, it’s sappy, but it flows beautifully and aesthetically with the track, accurately depicting that journey and desire to being with the person you love. They didn’t stop there. Their video for “Featherstone” captured two rustic tribes of children in the forest, who journeyed through the woods to reach the “battleground” for an epic pillow fight. That video has gathered over 3 million views since 2011. In one way or another, the band has captured elements of artistic purity and freedom in their videos. Whether it’s freedom in dancing down the middle of a dirt road or a man who finds pure joy in crafting giant bubbles, The Paper Kites have been able to capture some amazing moments to compliment their music. The same goes without saying when describing their latest release. In the video for “Young,” directed by Darcy Prendergast, Oh Yeah Wow took seven days to photograph more than 350 people. Then, over 4,000 photos were cut together in ten days to create this masterpiece:
Vision + time / work + persistence = art. Or at least that’s my takeaway. The reaction goes without saying, but if you liked the song, there’s more where that came from. The Paper Kites released their new album, States, in August. They worked with producer Wayne Connolly, recording at the famous Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne and Connolly’s studio at Alberts Music in Sydney. Proving the amount of work that went into the project, the album was cut down from over 40 demos. Get your copy by clicking on the Amazon links to the left or on the album art below.
By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC
Chvrches formed only two years ago, and they already have their sound. Most of that can be credited to the production work from Iain Cook and Martin Doherty, but would not be complete without the distinct vocals from Lauren Mayberry. The formation originally began during work on some demos for which Mayberry was brought in to sing vocals. The recording sessions proved successful, so they formed a band. Yes, they have made it all look very easy to do what they’ve done, but it doesn’t happen like this without a little help from some friends. That friend came in the form of Neon Gold, an independent record label that premiered the song, “Lies,” as a free download. Months later, and only a year after the project began, they released their first official debut single, “The Mother We Share.”
Their first two songs made waves in 2012, creating a good stir in anticipation of an EP. Listeners got exactly what they were hoping for soon after Chvrches signed with Glassnote Records in January 2013. Recover EP was released just two months later, immediately following “Recover” as the second single. As if that wasn’t enough, the band announced their full length debut studio album in June. The Bones of What You Believe dropped this week in the states, and has already picked up steam. There are plenty of musicians that can pick apart an album’s composition better than I can, so I’ll just say one thing: their sound is great. Hear for yourself:
It’s not just their unique electronic pop sound that stands out to me, but the way the album feels like an album in the cohesiveness of its writing. It seems more unified than a band that’s been together for only two years. If you liked what you heard, get your copy by clicking on the Amazon link to the left. Chvrches is touring in Europe through October, headed to the United States in November, over to Australia in February, and back to Europe in March. Check out tour dates by clicking on the album art below. Keep listening!
By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC
Arcade Fire has always been a class act example of adding significance in music. Today’s industry sometimes feels like the world’s biggest jock fest, as the leading pop artists continue to compete for the greatest shock value on their latest performance, headline, or album. To be fair, there are many that are still working very hard in the studio, writing, orchestrating. Some may take a few weeks, others may take a few years, and so lies the mystery of art. Since hearing Arcade Fire’s sophomore album, Neon Bible, I began to really take notice of the sophistication that not only goes into composition and producing a record, but also the writing and experience. It was one of the first albums I really dug into, and discovered that the band had much more to say than I thought. The struggle of government, the church, and personal battles rage on throughout the album with various metaphors. I think it’s something that the world has come to love about Arcade Fire, and after a bit lighter tone on The Suburbs, it’s safe to say we’re excited to hear what’s next.
The band ended up selling the church that they bought to record Neon Bible, due to structural damage, so they made Reflektor using several different studios. They’ve been working with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, who spoke with Rolling Stone earlier this year about the new songs; “There’s a lot of them, and they’re mostly self-produced – like, they don’t need a producer in a certain way. I think it’s going to be a really great record, actually. I’m eager to see it come out.” Set to be released on October 28, 2013, the album has already been through a type of guerrilla marketing campaign with graffiti, and strategic visibility on the details leaking slowly over time. The album art was more recently released, inspired by Haitian veve drawings. As if the release hasn’t been arty enough, Arcade Fire released an interactive video with a little help from Vincent Morisset. Click here to interact, but be forewarned that it will require a Google Chrome browser. And here’s the story behind the creator/director:
Technology in the music industry is massive, and everything from song identification to social media seems to be used as competitive gain. It’s rare that technology advances in the industry solely benefit the actual art, but the interactive video directed by Morisset proves that some bands still do put their money where their mouth is, expecting nothing but users to engage in a unique experience. It’s important to break through all the noise in the world, and it seems like Arcade Fire is able to do it time and time again. Pre-order your copy by clicking on the album art below and check out what you really came to see… the track list of Arcade Fire’s soon to be released album, Reflecktor.
2. We Exist
3. Flashbulb Eyes
4. Here Comes the Night Time
5. Normal Person
6. You Already Know
7. Joan of Arc
8. Here Comes the Night Time II
9. Awful Sound (Oh Erydice)
10. It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheous)
By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC
The line outside The Echoplex in LA last night was long. Sold out, no one else is getting in even if you know someone, long. One whole city block. Roughly 600 or so people stood out side on a breezy LA summer night waiting for a young lady named Ella Yelich-O’Connor other wise known as Lorde. Hailing from Auckland, New Zealand her music has taken the states by storm and her hits single “Royals” is in heavy rotation on alternative music channels from LA to New York. Touching down for a small handful of shows California and New York needless to say the buzz around her performance last night was heightened. I believe last night was Lorde’s third US performance ever having played two shows last week in NY. This being her first LA show she instagramed a picture of the city of angels prior to the show with the caption “makeyoutown breakyoutown”. I think that’s what we were all waiting to see. Wether the hype lead to something we all hoped for or instead left it as is… just hype.
I entered the venue. A small club to say the least with a roster of artists that have played there that rivals the Staples Center. It was just months ago when the Rolling Stones graced the same stage with a surprise performance. That story is standard for the popular Echoplex in Echo Park, CA. People filed in as a DJ played broken samples and deep beats setting an erie mood in the club. Lots of smoke and small specific lighting effects illuminated the stage. As the DJ ended it was easier to see the small drum kit laden with triggers and drum pads set up next to the laptop and key board apparatus. The backing band. Just after the advertised 9:30 start time the band of two members took the stage and started into a heavily distorted opening and welcomed Lorde herself to the stage. Wearing all black with a see through top and deep red lipstick Lorde didn’t look 16 to me. Stern faced with her reddish brown hair hanging in front of her face with backlights Lorde smirked as the crowd cheered. Her look was far from what I envisioned listening to the music. She didn’t smile, she just started into the first song of the night, “Bravado”. Fittingly it’s the first song on the EP and a perfect way to kick off her first LA appearance.
Over the course of an hour Lorde made her way through all 5 tracks from her EP as well as two recently released songs. One of which was called “Tennis Courts” which has been recently been released and is destined to become her next “Royals” livened up surprisingly quiet LA crowd. The biggest hit of the night was the one two punch of “Love Club” followed by “Royals” and then an encore of new songs which were excellent. There were a handful of new songs played as well. I didn’t catch the names but they were good. Not one bad song in the bunch.
It’s interesting to see such a young talent. She never really commanded the stage but at the same time kept all eyes on her and that voice.. holy shit. She took the show very seriously and her songs even more seriously. It was kind of weird how serious she was since to me her songs, intelligently written as the most certainly are, definitely have an element of tongue and cheek to them. One of her first shows was playing to 10,000 people replacing Frank Ocean at a New Zealand Festival so I was surprised that she wasn’t more out spoken/ going, but in hindsight I guess this being her third state side show ever I would probably feel exactly the same way.
At the end of the show I felt happy. I was nervous we were only going to here the EP and a cover or two, but instead I think we heard what’s going to be an awesome major debut record. This morning her show at the Belasco theater in downtown LA went on sale. It was triple the capacity of the Echoplex and double the price. It sold out in minutes. Sadly we’re going to have to share her with lots of people really soon. Don’t be surprised when Lorde is touring heavily next year and playing major music festivals. She’s just getting started.