What a journey it has been for singer-songwriter/producer Stephen Swartz, aka Stephen. After releasing the massively viral “Bullet Train” while still at the University of Miami (FL), he went all but silent for two years, leaving his 60,000 social followers wondering if Stephen had left music altogether. Little did they know that he had actually immersed himself even further into music, dropping out of college and moving to Los Angeles, CA to develop his artistry–and himself.
The past two months have seen two new releases from Stephen via Halfway House Records, the independent label he calls both his label and literal home. Increasingly known for his introspection, “Fly Down” is no different, examining society’s issues with vulnerability, masculinity, and self-concept through the allegory of Stephen‘s relationship with a young woman to whom he feels uncomfortable showing pain. The record is a heart-tugging piano ballad backed by compressed hip-hop drums, speckled with electronic production and climaxing with a powerful drop.
We fell in love with Lee Eller‘s brand of lo-fi indie pop here at Cougar Microbes HQ from the minute we first heard “What Would I Do“. The track is an elegant yet moody slice of electro-pop that hints at great things to come from the young artist.
Born and raised as an only child in Manhattan you get the perception that Lee‘s childhood was somewhat unconventional. With no older siblings around to pass on new musical discoveries and so Lee was uncovering new sounds for herself and developing a diverse palette.
A chance visit to the Middle East saw her uproot her life and relocate to Tel Aviv beginning to mix with the local scene and explore new sounds. There are a couple of covers online form this period that, while a little rough around the edges, suggest a budding artist with growing confidence in her talent.
A few years on and Lee is completing the recording of her debut ‘Wrote To You‘ EP and we have been assured the rest of the tracks will be just as exciting. While we wait for the next single to drop we are happy to keep spinning the near pop perfection of “What Would I Do” on repeat.
If you were looking for an anti-ballad to play on repeat this Summer, call off the search. Searing through the ins and outs of a throwaway, shallow affair, ‘It’s Not Love’ is a track for anyone who’s ever enjoyed something fleeting.
Hailing from Dublin, Sal Vitro relocated to London and can now unveil their debut album ‘Cirque Du Sleaze’, a celebration of Rock’n’Rolls excessive pleasures and potential pitfalls. A fresh spin on good no-nonsense meat and potatoes rock, the album combines fine songwriting, rabble rousing vocals, and sleazy, bluesy, devil-may-care fun.
Touring with the likes of Thin Lizzy, Status Quo, Jeff Beck and Richie Sambora has rubbed off on these lads, and turned them into fine live performers – rocking out to audiences of 10,000 strong. Catch them before they start turning out in stadiums regularly.
Last month the Grammy award-winning British house duo Dirty Vegas return with their brand new single, ‘Do What You Feel’ – taken from their new album, ‘Photograph’ out this September on Italian dance label D:VISION.
Charged with acoustic guitars and feel-good vocals, ‘Do What You Feel’ is just the kind of vibrant summer anthem you’d expect from the South London lads, who first shot to fame in 2001 with their iconic debut single ‘Days Go By.’
Paul Harris and Steve Smith have been making music together for nearly 20 years. 2001’s debut single ’Days Go By’ catapulted them to Grammy success, winning the group Best Dance Recording. In the rollercoaster two years that followed, they released their eponymous debut album and headlined their own worldwide tour, in addition to supporting like-minded artists such as Moby, Underworld and GrooveArmada. They went on to sell over 1 million albums and were named No.6 in Billboard Magazine’s ‘Top selling Electronic artists of the 2000’s’.
All eyes are now on their fourth album, ‘Photograph’ due out later this year, featuring the new single, ‘Do What You Feel’, and last year’s ‘Let The Night’ alongside nine other brand new tracks. ‘We feel like this new album is some of our best work to date,’ says DirtyVegas. ‘It’s a journey back to our club roots.’
Check out the excellent remix package if you have a chance.
Singer/songwriter Jen Charlton has led a nomadic life calling NewYork, London, Toronto and Tel Aviv her home at various stages of her career and this cross contamination of cultures has seemingly seeped into her music.
Her latest single is deceptively upbeat with a deeper/darker layer lurking below. Even though it was released earlier this year it seems like a great track for summer
“Blame It On My Family”, produced by Yves Galula, showcases an artist who is comfortable in her own skin delivering a pop burst that you will want to return to again.
Judging by the increase of emails in our inbox quote-unquote guitar music is making some sort of a comeback in 2015 spearheaded by the comebacks from the likes of Refused and Faith No More as well as a slew of young bands who have stepped up to take their mantle.
One such band sitting in the wings waiting to shine is Coma7 who are gearing up to release their debut EP ‘Hunger‘. In their 5 year’s existance the band has seen more than it’s fair share of ups and downs including the shocking murder of their former guitarist Eran. Faced with such adversity most artists would crumble but somehow the Israeli 5-piece has found a way to channel their anger and frustrations into their music. The result is a calculated burst of energy seasoned with emotion.
The release is preceded by the excellent DIY stop-motion video for the track ‘No More War‘, a formidable behemoth that sets out the band’s agenda from the get go. The track is the sonic equivalent of someone smashing your door down and proceeding to improve and decorate your entire home, exploding through the headphones like there is no tomorrow before firmly implanting it’s melody in your mind.
Make no mistake, this is not the kind of music you are likely to hear on mainstream radio but scratch beyond the surface and you will find plenty of melodies to go around and an unmistakable groove to nod your head to. Furthermore, the lyrical theme offers a refreshingly honest window into how the band feels.
Fans of the aformentioned Refused as well as Rage Against The Machine will appreciate the blend of aggressivness and passion displayed on ‘No More War‘ and it’s partner track ‘Yeti‘.
Coma7 will release their ‘Hunger‘ EP in September 2015 and plan to tour in 2015/2016
Los Angeles based artists vōx returns with “Put The Poison In Me“, a track that sees her stripped down to just her haunting vocals and a piano accompanyment. Previous releases incorporated a melancholical electronic element but on this latest outing she shows she is equally comfortable when the light shines directly on her.
The track is part of a limited edition Vinyl EP released by Turntable Kitchen. Check out her previous output and put that name vōx on your ones to watch list for 2015/2016.
When I heard the news that ‘David Bowie is’ – possibly one of the greatest retrospective of this generation was coming to the Philarmonie de Paris, I was more than thrilled. I was even more excited because my lack of organisation has led me to miss the exhibition at the V&A back in 2013. This time I was not going to miss it.
David Bowie is a living alien genius, his contribution to music, art and fashion is undisputable and this exhibition definitely fulfilled my expectations. Word has it that he visited it under disguise at the V&A on it’s opening day, I really wonder what he thought of it.
Everything you know/do not know/need to know about Bowie is there. Lyrics, original his stage AMAZING costumes, photographs, album artwork, rare performance material, set designs – everything is there. To the point that one may feel like they are, for an hour or so sharing a special and unique experience with the master himself.
Everything about this exhibition is flawless. I loved the fact that the music changed depending on where you were in the room. You’d be looking at artwork from the era of ‘Young Americans’ and hear ‘Fame’ in the backrground. His metarphosis throughout the ages from Major Tom, to Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane to Halloween Jack is central to the exhibition vbecause it’s central to his life and to his work.
The omnipresence of Bowie (he IS everywhere) somehow makes you feel like he is there with you, or at least his body is. I never felt so close to him. And I loved it.
The exhibition is touring all over the world so don’t miss it. A few dates : It ‘ll be in Melbourne from the 16th July and Groningen from 15th December 2015.