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INsiders Guide: SEKI, The Velvet Hands, Ray Laurél, Running Violet, PETAL CRUSH, Blair Lee, Kodiak Arcade, Big Wild, Turkuaz….

Taking influences from Tears for Fears, The 1975 and The Strokes, SEKI creates a shoegaze-inflected indie pop sound, rich with layered harmonies and instantly-memorable melodies. SEKI’s childhood trips to Bangkok flea markets saw him amass a collection of cassettes replete with retro hits by the likes of Bee Gees and The Psychedelic Furs. Coupling these influences with the contemporary production styles of Tame Impala and Hippo Campus, SEKI’s sound is dominated by new wave synth sounds, falsetto vocals, lushly-layered harmonies and instantaneous pop melodies. SEKI’s debut release ‘Need A Moment’ secured spots on Spotify’s much-coveted New Music Friday playlists throughout South East Asia and beyond, with additional support from Apple Music and AWA, as well as receiving critical acclaim domestically in Thailand with backing from tastemakers at Fungjai, A Day Magazine, Cat Radio, and Blast Magazine.

THE VELVET HANDS have unveiled their new soaring late summer anthem “I Wanna Be There”. 

WATCH VIDEO HERE

Blending their signature rip-roaring choruses with soaring guitar hooks that wouldn’t feel out of place on a major festival stage, “I Wanna Be There” is an uplifting anthem for anyone that feels a little bit restless in life.

Punctured at its core by a catchy, circling riff and with melodic build-ups that gleam like the first glimpse of sun on a dull late summer day, the track was produced and mixed by John Logan and JamX Jules at Cube Studios and The Cave in Cornwall. 

Focused on finding optimism amongst all the agitation, vocalist and guitarist Toby explains:

“”I Wanna Be There” is about everybody around you seemingly knowing exactly what they’re doing with their lives, whilst you’re still trying to shake off last night’s hangover and wondering when your life is going to properly start. It’s about looking around and realising that you’ve come much further than you think and that maybe everyone else feels the same.”

“It was the first track that we wrote for the album and was the one that guided where we were going. We want to make music that inspires kids to form bands: simple, passionate and energetic.” 

Alongside their spirited new anthem, The Velvet Hands have launched their new podcast ‘Are We There Yet?’. Documenting the soaring highs and crippling lows that come along with being in a band that isn’t quite there yet, each episode sees the boys joined by a variety of musical guests. From chats about the worst festival toilets with Radio X DJ Sarah Gosling to stories on songwriting with Justin Parker (Lana Del Rey, Rihanna, Bat For Lashes) and a Hard Fi special with frontman Richard Archer, all episodes of the podcast are available here

London based newcomer Ray Laurél is set to drop gorgeous new offering, Charles. A wonderfully genre-free offering showcasing the boundary pushing left of centre pop that has seen Ray Laurél pick up millions of streams on his debut EP Manic Pixie Dream Boy,  the track is another wonderful offering into an already impressive discography.  Speaking on Charles, he states:

‘On the surface, Charles is about me rejecting a guy’s drink sent to me at a bar. 

But really its about my shadow self, the imperfections we all have and embracing that.

I wanted to drop the heaviest song I’ve made, for my debut headline show. Just dying to play it live. It’s weird, starting as an electronic producer, now making indie/rock music, it’s kinda fun how the worlds collide – this song is a result of that. ‘

We’re Running Violet, an eclectic collaboration of musicians. What started as an online ad for musical companionships – which collected the attention Petr Balaz, Ben Muller, Jordo Arnott and Bradley Conner – resulted in hip shaking, tear-jerking, raging songs that occupied the rooms and stages of some of Toronto’s best live music venues, and underground parties.

The charged and retrospective new song, “Who Needs Love,” was inspired by the concept of looking back at one’s past, figuring out what faults were merely a product of your environment, what part you played in it, and what have you done to break away from the pattern, or did you fall back into it, launching yourself into a spiral. It feels like we compressed a 500 word essay into 8 verse lines and a chorus, but it still feels earnest when we play the song.
“Who Needs Love” is available now on streaming platforms.

Sonically speaking, we wanted the song to be crisp and shiny with a sense of wideness. A journey for your ears – a ride not just a destination.

We don’t want to make anyone sad, that’s for sure. There’s enough sadness in the world. We did, however, want to try to get people to think about the roots of their actions and reactions, while presenting it on a happy tray of guitars, synths, bass and drums.

Thanks for listening!

Running Violet ❥ Facebook ❥ Instagram ❥ Twitter

Indie rock singer Petal Crush (Andy Petrusky) is thrilled to announce the release of his EP Luck  Ever After to be released on October 18th. Title track is out today and featured on Wonderland Magazine.
 
Andy says, “Lucky Ever After” is a special and timely single for us. This track embodies the overall theme of the upcoming EP, which is, never give up and play the hand that you are dealt with savvy. Sometimes in the dark, all we have for a light is our own perseverance and commitment towards originality.”

With her first release of 2022, indie’s sweetest new voice Blair Lee returns today with the single and video “Hurdles.” Deeply nostalgic and vulnerable, Blair floats listeners through a story inspired by missed family moments and watching her grandparents getting older. Now in her twenties, the Canadian singer-songwriter finds her music focused on the passing of time and attempting to hold onto the things that anchor you in your identity – LISTEN.  

On her newest release, Blair said, “I once dreamt that gravity was getting weaker, leaving the planet. My grandparents were on a cruise ship that was floating up into the sky, and there was nothing I could do to save them. Those feelings have resurfaced now that they are nearing the end of life.” She tenderly continues, “In the city, I often feel hidden, but when I think of my grandparents, my perspective shifts.”

Over the past 15 years Graeme has been lucky enough to work on more than 40 television shows, and has contributed to more than 1000 episodes of television. His work covers the gamut too. He has scored documentary features on BBC and National Geographic, contributed to Triple AAA games and, along with his writing partners, has become one of the worlds most heard composers – most well-known for their work on hit TV shows like Paw Patrol, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and the Total Drama franchise.

The last five years have brought multiple awards from both SOCAN and BMI – recognizing their musical reach both domestically and internationally. Many of Voodoo Highway’s shows have received Emmys, and in 2020, Graeme and his writing partners took home their second Canadian screen award.

Kodiak Arcade is a passion project where a lifelong television composer is reversing the usual process. Instead of writing music for picture, he is creating visual art posted to Instagram, Twitter and YouTube depicting the feelings and mental states of his music. Visually, this project is a means of exploring the forefront of AI / Human collaboration with generative art. Musically, it has been a means of exploring new musical palette ideas, expanding on orchestration ideas Graeme found while working on other visual media, and has served to expand his network of talented instrumental collaborators.

Since first breaking through in 2015 as a rising producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, Jackson Stell has evolved his artistry by pushing the boundaries of genre while adding lyricist and songwriter to his repertoire. Now more widely known as his artist moniker Big Wild, he crafts lush soundscapes and sweeping melodies that lay the foundation for his wide range of vocal stylings.

In February 2019, the Massachusetts-native released his critically acclaimed debut album, Superdream, which received high praise from the likes of NPR and BillboardSuperdream broke new ground for the virtuoso, setting the stage for a career led by his voice.

His continuous artistic evolution and exceptional ability to meld sounds sets him apart from his peers, putting him stylistically in a lane solely his own. Moreover, as a performer, Big Wild is one of the most sought after progressive rising acts on the circuit today. Backed by a full-live band, his live show has him switching between multiple instruments (drums, synths, keyboards and live vocals) to deliver a jaw-droppingly energetic, hybrid set – infused with high-octane pop, indie, dance and disco elements, distinguishing himself as a standout artist that is not to be missed.

In 2022, he has carved a unique new lane for himself that was born out of pandemic isolation. Enter highly-anticipated sophomore album – The Efferusphere. The Portland-based producer has departed from the electronic textures of his past for something more homespun, acoustic, and introspective. This parallel dimension he discovered in his two-year seclusion was one in which emotional energy defined the laws of what you see, of what you hear, based on how you feel. He came to know The Efferusphere as the emotional atmosphere of life on earth. In this dimension, you can physically see and feel the saturation of tension, joy, guilt, happiness. Emotional weather patterns and phenomena exist here. 

This empathic album’s cerebral tenor exists in the realm of deep self-reflection and intimate searching. On The Efferusphere, Stell gets real with himself about how to be better. As he attempted to grasp and contextualize his internal self through the experimental tool of music and writing, in a moment of pure chance, he hit a special frequency that allowed him more awareness than ever before. That’s why each song explodes with life and deep thought, and why it’s clear how life-affirming music is for Stell. 

After a decade of touring and recording their own unique brand of “powerfunk”, the most recent Turkuaz tour was cut short amidst a dramatic departure of multiple band members in 2021, leaving the two founders, Taylor Shell and Dave Brandwein with an uncertain future for the band. In recent years they graced stages from Red Rocks to Bonnaroo, The Fillmore in San Francisco to the Blue Note Tokyo, and spent nearly 200 days a year traveling the country and the globe to perform.

​The band’s most recent release and tours featured Talking Heads guitarist/keyboardist Jerry Harrison, and singular figure in the world of guitar legends and innovators Adrian Belew (King Crimson, Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie), culminating in their final performance at Hulaween last fall.

​Fans were devastated by the announcement that the tour would not continue, and have been clamoring for the band’s return ever since despite sources repeatedly saying they have “broken up”. What fans don’t know however is that just prior to the disbanding, the recording process for two full albums of new original music were completed. Taylor and Dave have spent the last several months putting on the finishing touches and quietly preparing to unveil these two records to the world.

​Entitled Paradiso and Apollyon, these two separate full-length releases feature very different sounding music, but with a common thread. The albums make reference to a dual afterlife in both heaven and hell in this time of uncertainty for the band, and though not planned to be released under these circumstances, it certainly seems oddly fitting. Paradiso features the electronic and synth inspired sound of Turkuaz’s recent years, with some added stylistic surprises throughout, while Apollyon brings the band back to their roots of bombastic and quirky funk, through a sonic lens of retro-soul.

Though these albums are labeled as “posthumous” by the remaining members, it would seem from recent activity surrounding the releases and on social media that perhaps there is more in store for Turkuaz. This music either marks the culmination of a 10 year legacy, or the beginning of the next phase. Then again, it could be both.

Indie-rock trio Goldpark — the project of Nashville-based musicians Wes Hunter (vocals), Andrew Smith (guitar) and Kyle Neblett (drums) — are announcing their sophomore EP, Goldpark Two, out October 21st on Hazel Street Records. Alongside the announcement, Goldpark are also presenting the final pre-release single, “Summer In My Head,” a glistening, feel-good track about being young and reflecting on all the moments that have made up your life so far.

Goldpark Two is the much-anticipated follow up to the band’s debut EP, Goldpark One, which was released in 2021 on Hazel Street Records. For Goldpark Two, the band honed in on their energetic rock sensibilities with the help of producer Jeremy Lutito (Ingrid Michaelson, Colony House, Joy Oladokun). The result is a project that feels confident, inspired and panoramic. After over a year of consistent touring, it’s clear that the trio have found their identity as a band.

In a statement about the EP, Goldpark write: “This EP is special for so many reasonsWe had the right songs, the right producer (Jeremy Lutito), and the right spirit. This body of work is the best representation of who we are and where we are going. We hope this EP makes people smile.” 

Buzzing out of Louisiana as a breaking artist to watch, P Yungin unleashes a new, solo single and music video entitled “On A Shirt” via Never Broke Again, LLC/Motown Records. Listen to “On A Shirt” HERE, and watch the music video HERE

The punchy track highlights P Yungin’s hypnotic, yet hard-hitting flow over a backdrop of tense 808s. Right from the jump, he warns, “Better watch your mouth, with fiery and forceful delivery. He leans into the cadence with a distinct intonation, representing the next era of the Louisiana sound. The accompanying visual follows him through his neighborhood as he puffs smoke and stalks the streets. Ultimately, “On A Shirt” ushers audiences into his world. 

The track arrives on the heels of his recent single Solitary. In addition to stirring up excitement on streaming platforms, the rising star has attracted acclaim, with Dirty Glove Bastard proclaiming, “Yungin’s perseverance and storytelling set him apart. He blends the hard-nosed grit of Louisiana rap with short, succinct rhymes about his feelings. 

When budding musician Sean Allen took up the mantle of Skripture: he had no idea his name would carry the mythical aura that engulfs it today. Anchoring himself in the UK scene as an acclaimed rapper, vocalist and producer, Skripture has returned with his long-awaited project ‘One Accord’. 

STREAM/DOWNLOAD: SKRIPTURE – ONE ACCORD

Featuring a gritty, gut-punching tour de force of bars, Skripture imbues the album — his first rap-focused project in four years — with a much-needed sense of urgency and precision. Opening track ‘Round Here’ is both a love letter to the UK grime scene and a breezy, futureproof club number. With Teflon-breaking quotables and gun-finger-toting flows, it’s hard not to be captivated by the self-produced belter. 

We heard rumours that lead single ‘Who Don’t Love Me’ is related to the repeat button — and it’s easy to see why. With speaker-blitzing charisma and first-person passages over an entrancing instrumental, Skripture takes no prisoners on ‘One Accord’.  

Nottingham-raised singer-songwriter Drew Thomas continues to lead the charge of DIY rock musicians making waves across the alternative scene. Through unparalleled approaches and resonating nostalgia, his musical endeavours shine bright, as he brings his talents for writing arena-sized choruses to life. Infusing a rich collection of musical influences into his unique soundscape, he took the leap to go solo back in 2018, having performed up and down the country in several group endeavours. Honing inspiration from the likes of The Killers, Bleachers and Sam Fender, he creates an encapsulating sound and truly addictive musical persona. 

Thomas’ latest single “All My Friends”, produced alongside Natt Webb (The Struts, Isaac Anderson and Kelsey Karter) and Charlie Thomas (Calum Scott, Sam Fischer), explores the pressures of settling down, seeing friends bringing children into the world and getting married, yet the abundance of pressure that follows when that just doesn’t seem to be the way life is panning out for you. He confesses, “All My Friends is about watching all of your mates starting to build homes, make families and have kids but refusing to settle down yourself. It’s about still having the party lifestyle and getting drunk every night but feeling left behind by the people you used to love.”

Continuing his steady stream of bangers from his upcoming EP ‘Romance in Great Britain’, Mustbejohn is back with the TIBASKO remix of fan favourite “Handy Mandy”.

Moody synths and left-field drum patterns take forefront on fast rising electronic duo TIBASKO’s remix of “Handy Mandy”. With praise from BBC RADIO 1, BILLBAORD DANCE and DJ MAG already under their belts the pair have successfully established themselves as providers of an impressive, extremely melodic electronica style that veers between breaks, melodic house, trance, and techno.

Speaking on the original John says: “This one is an uplifting and honest bopper for the raving crew. I had a lot of fun writing this track and I always feel at home on a bouncy house beat. Handy Mandy likes to have a good time and I hope the people listening to this track do too.”

London based artist Joulie Fox brings a truly genreless approach to her musicality. Honing down an impressive repertoire, Fox’s musical endeavours shine brightly, as she brings her unique chronicles to life. Defining her truly unique soundscape, her rich musical heritages take the shape of influences such as St. Vincent, Jack White and Marina & The Diamonds, as Fox prides herself on an ability to stay genuine to her unique artistry.

Her new EP Love is a Blessing offers an addictive realm of upbeat electro-pop. With the EP consisting of five different love stories, her unique chronicles and an unparalleled approach to composition are brought full circle, as she confesses “Love Is A Blessing wasn’t planned to be a concept album and somehow it happened to be all about love. Each song shows love in a different shape. A toxic relationship, unhealthy dependence, stalking psychos, running away from the real commitment, old love regrets. I guess the only thing you won’t find here is a healthy relationship. It’s probably because I am usually inspired by bad experiences and events.”

Despite the non-intentional connection, Fox’s new EP revervarates with compelling discourses.. She continues,  “Each song shows a different character from Mother Theresia of Love, the stalker to the psychopathic killer.” Hit single “Running” is a story of a lost soul seeking love whilst fighting with demons living inside one’s head. Accompanied by “Fever” and “Bring Me”, Fox possesses blaring basslines and a truly echoic vocal energy that see each track soar with authentic melancholy.

Fox’s musical journey sets her apart. Her debut single “Wild Heart” was officially featured on ‘Love Island’ on ITV, and after a few months, she came back with “Oops I am Dead”, that made her shortlisted for the biggest festival in Europe – Glastonbury. Her previous singles have landed on Spotify’s prestigious ‘New Music UK’ playlist and she has garnered critical acclaim from the likes of The Guardian. Continuing to grow exponentially, Fox has streaming numbers hitting the tens of thousands for her impressive repertoire to date.

After a thrilling breakout year, JUNO Award winning indie-rock trio MONOWHALES release their hotly anticipated sophomore album Tunnel Vision an album that has quite literally saved their lives – out via Warner Music Canada.

Produced by Dave Schiffman (Vampire Weekend, Pup), Tunnel Vision emerges out of the midst of a global pandemic. A deep, honest and at times raw reflection of their growing pains, fearlessness and angst the Toronto based band – made up of vocalist Sally Shaar, guitarist Zach Zanardo and drummer Jordan Circosta – describe the album as ‘saving their lives’, where self-discovery and resilience play recurring themes across the seven pop gems, Tunnel Vision is an album of hope.

In equal parts dark and charismatic, “CTRL^^^” (which spent an incredible 8 weeks in the Top 10 at alt radio) is a declaration of independence, where the stomping drum beat that drives the track makes for an effortlessly cool sound. In contrast, “New Threads” layers glossy, electro melodies over formidable synths whilst the lush musical backdrop breathes life into the band’s introspective lyrics.

With a full resume of writing and producing credits for some pioneering left-of-center pop icons, Boyfriend today steps out with her own debut album Sugar & SpiceA brash commentary on gender roles, sexism, body positivity and the patriarchy, Sugar & Spice arrives as a radical overhaul of the pop space fueled by extravagant theatricality – Stream

The 16-track inaugural project is an offering not only by the New Orleans-based pop visionary, but by a star-studded line up of collaborators and producers. The album boasts features from longtime musical associate Big Freedia, global feminist protest art collective Pussy Riot, TikTok star Bailey Flores, Los Angeles-based psych outfit Death Valley Girls, and T-pop superstar Pyra. The final touches of the album were expertly crafted by big-name producers Gold Glove (Slayyyter, Big Freedia), Little Shalimar (Run The Jewels, Trixie Whitley), KC Da Producer (Justin Bieber, Lil Wayne, T.I.), and Not A Friend (Gia Woods). 

“This album is fists pounding chest and lips touching skin. There’s sweet syrup pop and sacrilegious dance, winks and shoves,” says Boyfriend on today’s release. “To be alive, to be a woman, to be paying attention… the taste is bittersweet. My favorite flavors punch you in the mouth then go down easy, I hope this album does the same.” 

Los Angeles-based DIY rock band The Paranoyds share their highly anticipated sophomore LP Talk Talk Talk out everywhere now via Third Man Records. Alongside the release of the album, the band shares new single & live video shot on VHS, “Freak Out” ahead of their lengthy fall tour across North America and the UK. Find a full list of dates below, and grab tickets via theparanoyds.com/#Tour.

The Paranoyds second album, Talk Talk Talk, is a sentimental, sci-fi-infused testament to their almost lifelong unbreakable bond that gives the band space to expand, evolve and above all, have fun. Over 11 tracks, the band experiments with sounds like vintage synthesizers, sampling, and multi-layered drum tracks that melt together showcasing the innovative range of the rising rockers and best friends.

Expanding on what the album means to the band, bassist and vocalist Staz Lindes shares, “‘Talk Talk Talk’ is a wild ride of sentimentality sprinkled with Twilight Zone paranoia and just plain old fun pop rock. I love the diversity of this album. We experimented with new sounds and pushed ourselves to try it all. ‘Talk Talk Talk’ is our child born from the strength and dedication of The Paranoyds in a wacky, depressing and confusing time.” Lindes continues, “We were able to overcome something super scary together and kept a dream alive that at times felt irrelevant and unattainable. And damn it was fun!”

Utah desert musician and folklorist Hal Cannon shares “Tarantula March”, the final taste of what is to come on his Nothin’ Lastin’ album which arrives on October 7th via Okehdokee Records. The song is an immersive dive into a world of southwestern gothic and is soaked in ominous foreboding and delivered through an (unusually for Cannon) husky vocal snarl. “Tarantula March” takes as its muse the arduous annual fall pilgrimage that male tarantulas of the American west undertake to find a mate. Over distances that can reach fifty miles through parched desert and scrubland the tarantula marches in hopes of finding a mate and with the likely possibility of a rejection in which the female will kill and eat him. It would appear that true love’s path is painful for all of God’s creatures.

For the “Tarantula March” video, Cannon returns to a collaborator who has regularly worked with his experimental desert music group 3hattrio. In this video, Daniel Whittaker creates a dreamlike limbo that appears to exist halfway between the tangible and the magical. Tarantula limbs and the face of a teenage Hal Cannon are cast in projections across the musician, repurposing his banjo, shawl, and face as a canvas. The drama and menacing undertones of “Tarantula March” are heightened and twisted in this production that brings evocative new layers to a song that was already replete with mysterious intrigue.

Chicago-based rock band The Fold is thrilled to announce their new album, Stereo Fire.  In their latest music adventure, The Fold focuses on telling their story, getting deep and rocking hard than ever before. 

“This album describes life in the present where everything is coming at us from all angles. The good, the bad, and the scary all have the spotlight,” says Dan Castady. “Stereo Fire is about finding yourself amidst the chaos and healing.”

The new collection of songs features pop anthems alongside fast punk and ballads and is lyrically driven as much as it is a nostalgic exploration the band’s roots and where they’ve come from.  

The Fold has released six full-length albums, 30+ LEGO Ninjago tracks, a slew of NFL songs, and even a World Series Anthem for their hometown Chicago Cubs

Email: neill@outloudculture.com

Socials: @neillfrazer

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Written by Neill Frazer

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