INsiders Guide: Babel, Trunky Juno, James Sullivan, Julian Lamadrid, RedFox.

BABEL

In the afterglow of their previous release Honeyspell, Babel were overwhelmingly described as ethereal, dreamy, and magical. With their latest offering, double single Breathe, that same sorcery remains as the Finnish duo divulge in trance-inducing sensibilities.

Hailing from Finland, Babel is the velvet synergy of established artists Mikko Pykäri (Regina and Shine 2009) and Karin Mäkiranta (Karina) who met collaborating on Pykäri’s solo project ‘O’. Recognising their musical affair was something rare, the two started work immediately and are now heading toward the release of their debut album Yoga Horror which comes out in 2022.

For both members, Babel is a space to experience and a place to escape reality, further exemplified by their new twin single. First track Breathe infuses the pummelling drive of early noughties electronica with their signature affinity for shoegaze atmospherics. Unlike the conceptual thematics of their last maxi-single, Breathe plunges deep into existential ponderings. In a world where we’re constantly persuaded towards self-improvement, Babel suggests that it’s no longer a personal journey but rather something cultish. For Babel, this track is their moment of reflection:

“Yoga is a selfish and smug way to escape and it could be even violent to focus so much only on yourself. It’s strange how eating vegetables and breathing deeply can, at its worst, be harnessed into a part of a cult and making smoothie mixes a ritual. Breathe is Babel’s breathing exercise.”

On the B-side is The Cutest Quotes. Very much on the opposite end of the spectrum to its bass-heavy precursor, the second track is a hazy, west-coast love song. As stripped back as we’ve seen Babel go, The Cutest Quotes was made to bask in with low-cut guitar, spaghetti riffs and Karin’s sweet, reverb-soaked vocal.
About the track, they say: “Many of us don’t actually have any idea what we’re doing or why, for example, we end up with someone. Nevertheless we try to explain to ourselves and others the reasons for our actions and sometimes this explanation revolves around irrelevant things. It’s unnecessary but somehow cute. The Cutest Quotes is a sweet explanation to a relationship that is always missing something.”

TRUNKY JUNO

Trunky Juno returns with latest single ‘Better Better’ released 3rd November via Young Poet to coincide with his headline UK tour.

A slacker rock anthem of the highest order, the track marries together musical influences including Beck, Weezer and Pavement whilst lyrically exploring the jagged side of moving on and letting go. Imbued with bittersweet emotion, ‘Better Better’ nevertheless retains Trunky’s trademark dry humour whilst further establishing his reputation as master of an ever evolving and eclectic sound – Trunky performs every instrument on the track himself, from the Nirvana-esque drums to the searing, noise drenched guitar solo. These elements are skillfully married together by producer and 3 x Grammy Award winner Eduardo De La Paz (The National, Will Joseph Cook, Arcade Fire).

Talking about the track, Trunky Juno says, “it’s my version of an “everything reminds me of you” song, full of bitterness, self-loathing, and resentment. The full tri-force of what people want.”

Trunky Juno has rapidly emerged as one of the North of England’s most talented newcomers receiving widespread support from Spotify, Apple Music, BBC Radio 1 (Jack Saunders, Gemma Bradley), 6 Music (Steve Lamacq), BBC Introducing, CLASH, DORK, Wonderland and The Line Of Best Fit amongst many others.

‘Better Better’ is released on 3rd November via Young Poet ahead of Trunky Juno’s headline UK tour starting in Glasgow on 11th November.

L I S T E N

L I V E
11.11 Glasgow, Garage Attic
13.11 Manchester, Castle Hotel
17.11 London, Old Blue Last
08.12 Newcastle, Cluny 2 (TBC)
Tickets – https://ffm.to/trunkyuktour.opr

D I S C O V E R
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JAMES SULLIVAN

JAMES SULLIVAN – frontman and guitar player of London’s garage-pop trio MORE KICKS and apocalypse-pop supergroup SUSPECT PARTS has just released his debut solo album LIGHT YEARS. In November 2020, after repeated album delays and touring cancellations due to the pandemic, Sullivan found himself stuck at home writing LIGHT YEARS as a self-imposed distraction. “In that car crash of a year, November seemed to hit particularly hard. I decided to set myself the challenge of writing one song every day for 10 days and then record them all myself in my little analog setup at home in North London,” says Sullivan. “LIGHT YEARS was a move away from writing songs for a live band. Trying out new styles and not thinking about anything for longer than a few minutes. Pure instinct only.” Accompanying the new album is Sullivan’s video for the single Lea Bridge. The song’s motorik rhythm propels Sullivan’s stream of consciousness vocal style that is reminiscent of Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker. The lyrics describe a journey across London back home from an area called Lea Bridge on a crappy red bike. Sullivan says, “So I took the same crappy red bike, taped my phone to the handlebars and rode that journey again. When I looked at what I’d ‘filmed’, the footage was insanely shaky but weirdly compelling. So, much like the recording process, I made a virtue of its weirdness, messed with it a bit to add some VHS distortion, sped it up and reversed it. It was odd how well it synced up with the song.”

Based in London but from the West Midlands in England, JAMES SULLIVAN started out as guitar player of the Wolverhampton indie pop band RIPCHORD. They signed as teenagers to a major label, toured the world, and were spat out by the industry within a couple of years. James jumped immediately into the world of DIY punk and garage – forming the multi-country supergroup SUSPECT PARTS with members from CLOROX GIRLS, THE BRIEFS and THE SHOCKS. In 2017, after releasing five singles, an LP, and touring Europe extensively, Sullivan decided to step into the role of sole singer and songwriter and formed MORE KICKS. Their debut single It’s A Drag was named Coolest Song in the World by Little Steven’s Underground Garage and they shared stages with the likes of BUZZCOCKS, THE BRIEFS, BABY SHAKES and DICTATORS.

Order New Color Vinyl LP LIGHT YEARS
https://www.stardumbrecords.com/products/james-sullivan-light-years-lp
Pre-Save LIGHT YEARS on all Streaming Services
https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/jamessullivan1/light-years

LIGHT YEARS is 12 songs and 32 minutes, a whistle stop tour of blitzed-out fuzz (TOTALLY BORED), paranoid drum machine twitches (GETAWAY), stadium-sized rear mirror reflections (IN THE END) and lo-fi 60s pop nuggets (IT WON’T DO YOU HARM). The record was self-recorded on a half-broken Tascam 8-track. “This record is full of horrendous recording practices. You can hear saturation, tape reels whirling, me pressing stop too early. But none of that stuff sounds out of place. This record is the antithesis of overthinking. Everything is live takes on to tape from start to finish. How could I even overdub any ‘mistakes’? It’s just me in the room and I only have two hands.” LIGHT YEARS a snapshot of an innately melodic writer holding a microphone up to a beating heart and a restless mind. Sullivan’s pop sensibilities will surely win the hearts of fans of artists like GO KART MOZART, GUIDED BY VOICES, PAUL WESTERBERG, and ULTIMATE PAINTING

D I S C O V E R
YouTube:https://youtu.be/LZ2whspqkCY
Twitter:https://twitter.com/jamessullivannn
Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/jamesrsullivan/
Bandcamp:https://jamesrobertsullivan.bandcamp.com/
Spotify:https://open.spotify.com/album/5EgK4lpYXkkMeE6igvT6RK

JULIAN LAMADRID

On November 5th, Mexican singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Julian Lamadrid released “The Neon God,” the final pre-release single from his forthcoming album Rebels of The Neon God, out on November 12th via Arista Records. Ahead of the album release, Julian has also launched the ‘Rebel Universe,’ a virtual world inspired by the upcoming album: rebels.julianlamadrid.com/

Rebels of The Neon God serves as the follow up to Julian’s 2019 debut, Mala Noche. Featuring past singles like “Teenager,” “One More Trip,” “Cigarette” and “Patience,” the new 12-track album is a masterfully executed record unbound by genre or expectations. “The album is centered around the dichotomy between frustration and dance, vacancy and ecstasy; enlightenment through pain,” says Julian. “I have glimpsed into the eyes of The Neon God, pierced through the void and come out the other end, desperate for connection, hungry for the eternal.”

“The Neon God” serves as the final pre-release single and the closing track on the album. It’s a stunningly cinematic track, featuring hypnotic vocal chops, ethereal synth-laden soundscapes and poignant lyricism. In Julian’s own words, “The Neon God,” represents the “infinitely tender sensation of living…it’s the pinnacle of my musical ambition, an opus of ecstasy and hope.”

Julian Lamadrid is currently on tour supporting BANNERS. He will be concluding his show run on 11/13 with a final performance at the massive Pal Norte festival in Monterrey, MX. Tickets for all dates are on-sale now: julianlamadrid.com/live

Listen to “The Neon God” on all streaming platforms:
https://julianlamadrid.lnk.to/TheNeonGod

Rebels of The Neon God will be out on all streaming platforms 11/12

Julian Lamadrid is a Mexican singer, songwriter, producer, and filmmaker. Raised in Dubai, Julian rebelled against the city’s luxury and excess; instead, he drew inspiration from artists unafraid to breakdown barriers, like Iggy Pop and Freddie Mercury, and films that explored the stylistic lifestyle he was never exposed to. Following his desire to be surrounded by a more vibrant culture, Julian moved to New York to study film at NYU. In addition to his studies, Julian continued to write and produce music in his spare time and landed a record deal with Arista Records in 2019. His first album, Mala Noche, was released later the same year.

Since beginning his musical journey, Julian has been praised by notable tastemakers like V, Wonderland, CLASH, Flaunt, L’Officiel, Billboard and more. He brings a refreshingly global perspective to his craft, culminating in an infectious blend of new wave, bedroom-pop and British rock. In the process of producing and writing his first full-length record, Julian found himself even more inspired to create an audible pathway towards the future of pop music, resulting in the creation of his sophomore album, Rebels of the Neon God.

Connect w/ Julian Lamadrid
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REDFOX

Canadian experimental alt-folk group RedFox are set to soothe anxious minds and reinforce personal journeys with the release of their new single, “Mellow Out” and album Stranger Loveavailable now.

Blending traditional folk motifs with an ambient electronic sound, the Montreal-based band spin traditional instruments like the banjo, violin, and acoustic guitar on their heads, fusing conventional bluegrass rhythms with alternative rock-based guitar and vocals — inventively applying them to modern electronic production in a way that maintains the sound’s soul and skill.

With two previous EP releases — 2018’s self-titled RedFox and 2019’s Recovery — as well as numerous singles and festival appearances to their credit, folk troubadours Jono Townsend and Tim Loten, vocalist and fiddle virtuoso Daphnee Vandal, metal drummer Sam Neumann, and prog-rock bassist Sam Robinson up the ante of their inimitable offerings with Stranger Love in a way they sense many can relate to.

“Inspired by our personal and collective life experiences, our goal with this production was to create a compilation that pushed the boundaries of the genre,” Loten shares. “It’s not always easy to make our various instruments and creative visions cooperate; we demand a lot of compromise from each other musically, and that really shows in these songs.

“It’s a dark album,” he continues. “Daphnee has never been shy about writing real, honest lyrics, and I think people will get a lot of meaning out of it.”

“It’s a song about trying to feel normal and function in everyday life,” Vandal explains of “Mellow Out” and its origins. “But… Our good friend ‘anxiety’ seems to be kicking around every corner.”

Their debut full-length, the 12-track tome takes a sequential sojourn of sorts through themes of mental health and personal growth — arm wrestling with inner struggles through to self-safety, and every personal battle in between. “Stranger Love’s opening track, ‘Play,’ is about the fight with the mind,” Vandal reveals. “From there, it goes into first warnings that something dark is clouding it all in ‘Sleep,’ before seeing the signs in ‘Shiver.’

“As song #4, ’Mellow Out’ is where we say ‘it’s fine,’ and ‘Circles’ becomes this insanity-meets-repetition cycle where we know nothing about any of this is ‘normal’ and we acknowledge an introspective conclusion; that reality is a more pessimistic existence than once imagined.”

Halfway through the release, by track #6 — “Runaway” — Vandal’s lyricism questions concepts of escapism. “Here is where we find strength, and experience a happier side of self-realization. Even though personal disappointments are faced, there’s a potential to shed that which makes for unhappiness, in all different facets of life: physical, emotional, or both.”

With night comes day, and soon “Try” swoops in to lay the darker side of self-realization plainly. “It’s about the acceptance of failure,” Vandal muses. “It’s about how devastating it can be to give everything you have to something that inevitably doesn’t work.

“It’s here where the clouds of one’s own haze and ‘rainbow mood’ part, sort of like a daydream, in ‘Hey Mister,’” she continues. “We start to see that everyone else is struggling too, and start to become free.

“‘Can’t You See’ is a song about the acceptance of realization and the desire to make choices that move forward, and ‘Invisible’ is about experiencing freedom while doused in the memories of greater times; it’s about discovering one’s meaningful meaninglessness.

“Song #11 — ‘Takes One to Know One’ — is where it all makes sense, and we realize we were never alone. The album’s closing track, ‘Sewn,’ is a reflection of the sad, but honest truth: we feel safe here.”

Stranger Love’s album art expresses how duality is the reigning constant through colour, composition, and emotionality; how, much like two sides of a coin, you need both for it to be complete. Created by Montreal-based tattoo artist J.F. Biron, the band’s vision for the visual was to convey the duality of softness and intensity, haze and definition, dark and light, foreboding and providence…

“We are all bound by life’s precarious and extraordinary cycle,” Loten says of the commissioned piece and its relationship to the release. “This is our time and, together, we are the observers of this wonderful chaos.”

“Mellow Out” and Stranger Love are available now.
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Written By: Edhuard Hakim

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