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Debut Album: Nick Hakim – Green Twins (2017/05/19) / New Track ‘Bet She Looks Like You ‘

:: Whoop Whoop!


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Nick Hakim will release his debut full-length album Green Twins via ATO Records on May 19, and the release will be preceded by a North American & European tour. The anticipated album follows his breakthrough Where Will We Go, Pt. I & II EPs that were self-released on his Earseed Records and praised by the New York Times, NPR Music and more. Green Twins is an experimental step forward with emotional heft gleaned from his experiences in the years since. Intimate first single, “Bet She Looks Like You,” was recorded mostly in the New York-based singer-songwriter’s home bedroom, and was one of the first songs that saw Hakim embrace his new experimental way of songwriting and recording.

Each track on the album peels back a particular aspect of his life. He notes that, “a lot of it is what I was thinking in the moment, very specific songs… many of them are like self-portraits.“ He says of Green Twins, “I also felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs.” The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to My Bloody Valentine. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green’s Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib, and Screaming Jay Hawkins.”

The story of Green Twins truly began when, armed with the masters for his EPs, Hakim moved from Boston to Brooklyn, spending his time fleshing out unfinished ideas in his bedroom. He came up with lyrics on the spot, recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder. From there, Green Twins came about as a sum of its parts: Hakim took the demo recordings to studios in New York City, Philadelphia and London, and built on them with engineers including Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering, production), keeping the original essence of the songs intact. Sarlo notes that, “for other artists, a demo serves as a potential shape the song could form into. But for Nick, demos are more like creating a temple: a sanctuary that now we have to go into and somehow clean, furnish, and get ready for other people to experience the sermon in.”

Hakim’s debut comes as the culmination of years chiseling his skills as a musician. Hailing from Washington, D.C., he grew up in a musical household—his older brother introduced him to bands like Bad Brains and Nirvana, and his parents exposed him to Nueva canción—while he set out on his own to discover the DC music scene. He didn’t take an interest in learning an instrument until high school, when he taught himself to play the keys. After graduation, he moved to Boston to continue his study of music. In the time since moving to Brooklyn and setting to work for three years on Green Twins, he embraced the live circuit, both as a solo musician and with his band, whom he’s brought together from within his community in Boston and New York.

With Green Twins, Hakim plans to tour through the beginning of the year (see tour dates below), and hopes that folks will connect with the songs he’s written. “I think everybody feels insecure about certain things and everybody has lost people dear to them. I think I’m writing about common things that people feel,” he says. “I think I’m very grateful for anybody that’s listening or wants to be a part of my little world that I’ve created through song.” [Press Release via Bandcamp]

Cover Art:

Artist: Nick Hakim
Title of Debut Album: Green Twins
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Label: ATO Records

Track Listing:
1. Green Twins
2. Bet She Looks Like You
3. Roller Skates
4. Needy Bees
5. TYAF
6. Cuffed
7. Miss Chew (feat. Jesse & Forever)
8. Farmissplease
9. Those Days (feat. Onyx Collective)
10. Slowly
11. The Want
12. JP

Upcoming Tour Dates:
Apr 19 The Dome – London, UK (Sold Out)
Apr 20 Le Pop Up du Label – Paris, FR
Apr 21 Brussels, BE – Chez PIAS
Apr 22 Studio 672 – Cologne, DE
Apr 23 Bitterzoet – Amsterdam, NL
Apr 25 Berghain Kantine – Berlin, DE
May 11 The Drake Hotel – Toronto, ON
May 12 Bar Le Ritz PBD – Montréal, QC
May 13 Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA
May 14 Iron Horse Music Hall – Northampton, MA
May 17 Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
May 20 Rock & Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
Nov 7 The Lantern – Bristol
Nov 8 KOKO – London, UK
Nov 9 The Deaf Institute – Manchester, UK
Nov 10 King Tut’s – Glasgow, UK
Nov 11 Brudenell Social Club – Leeds, UK

Follow ‘Nick Hakim’ on:
Facebook | Soundcloud | TwitterBandcamp

More ‘Nick Hakim’ on Music Pickings:
2014, Oct 27 – Listen: Where Will We Go, Pt. 1 + Pt. 2 [Full Album Streams]

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New Album: Feist – Pleasure (2017/04/28)

:: Welcome back Feist!

Cover Artwork:

Artist: Feist
Title of Album: Pleasure
Release Date: April 28, 2017
Label: Universal Music

Track Listing:
01 Pleasure
02 I Wish I Didn’t Miss You
03 Get Not High, Get Not Low
04 Lost Dreams
05 Any Party
06 A Man Is Not His Song
07 The Wind
08 Century
09 Baby Be Simple
10 I’m Not Running Away
11 Young Up

Follow ‘Feist’ on:
Official WebsiteFacebook | Twitter

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More ‘Feist’ on Music Pickings:
2011, Dec 16  – How Come You Never Go There (Beck Remix)
2011, Oct 22 – Feist LIVE
2011, Sep 07 – Feist presents new songs

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New Album: Marker Starling – I’m Willing (2017/01/13)

:: Last night I fell in love with this album… thank you, Kai!


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“I guess I’ll never learn… I can’t begin to know the meaning of love,” once sang New York jazz piano innovator Steve Kuhn atop a swirl of lush cello and skittering drums, on 1971 track The Meaning Of Love. Those same words might sound strange to hear tumbling from the husky vocal of Toronto troubadour Marker Starling on his new covers album I’m Willing – the latest chapter in the career of a Canadian avant-pop charmer whose music has, after all, long basked in the mysteries and meaning of romance. “I’m very much a romantic in real life,” smiles Marker, real name Chris A. Cummings. “There are love songs – then there are also love-of-life songs.” Both kinds are reinterpreted on the remarkable I’m Willing – an album that strips back the huge orchestral bloom of tracks by John Cale, Bobby Cole, Sergio Mendes and more to their raw, minimalist, emotional bare bones – just breezy bossa nova drum machine clicks, lilting Yamaha CP-70 electric piano melodies and one unmistakable voice.

Arriving hot on the heels of his March 2015 album Rozy Maze – a sanguine dream of McCartney pop, 1960s movie soundtrack sparkle with stoned Beach Boys melodies, released on Tin Angel Records – I’m Willing sees Marker move further away from his previous guise, Mantler, under which he released four cult acclaimed albums on German imprint Tomlab. “I wanted to make an album that would contrast strongly with my previous one,” explains Marker, who grew up listening to Miles Davis between episodes of Sesame Street. “It was my first time making a record outside of Toronto, and without any of my usual collaborators.” The opportunity had come up to make a record in a small studio on the fringes of Paris with Laetitia Sadier producer Emmanuel Mario (aka Astrobal), “so naturally I wanted to make that happen! But I only had two months before the session, and I quickly had the idea to make an all-covers record, which had been a long-simmering idea of mine.”

The result is a tender patchwork essay on the nature of love that, across 10 spell-binding covers, adventures through ecstatic proto-disco (‘For Real’, originally by Flowers), Brazilian Tropicalia (Caetano Veloso’s ‘Lost In The Paradise’), spiritual jazz (Doug Hammond’s ‘Moves’) and other eclectic sounds, put together in 5am writing sessions last winter, as the frost-covered rest of the city was just stirring into life, in his house – a 100-year- old building nestled between 1970s builds in east Toronto’s remote inner-suburbs. Stereolab’s Sadier turns up on a rendition of Bobby Cole’s ‘Perfect Day’ that dials down the scatty fervour of the original in favour of something more svelte. “I was overawed, since she has been someone I’ve admired and looked up to for years and years,” says Marker.

Marker found songs took on different meanings from the romance of the originals, shaped by events in his life. “Every time you walk my way, I know love is only moments away,” he sings on ‘For Real’, but he may also be singing about his infant child. “Rosy Maze was written before my daughter was born. Since that time, she’s grown from an infant to a baby to a toddler to a real, full blown, very articulate child, with her own thoughts and opinions, so living through all those phases of her life, and all the phases of fatherhood that went along with them – some of them exhilarating, some of them exhausting– was a new thing for me, a new chapter in my life. And really, the making of music was just a sidebar to that,” he says. “When your emotions are running high, which is often the case when there is a crying, laughing, jumping, running, emotional child in the house, different feelings can come up in the music that maybe weren’t there before.”

“Most of these songs are over 35 years old. I tried to make a unified album out of other people’s songs,” explains Marker. “I have a tendency towards schmaltzy 1960s pop with slightly over-egged arrangements, done right of course, and unjustly maligned forms of music such as 1970s jazz funk and so-called smooth jazz” – genres, he says, have been written off, but deserve critical and cultural renaissances. “Romance is writ large in jazz!”

“Let’s forget all our troubles and sorrows,” sings Marker on the album’s defiantly upbeat closing track, a cover of Brazilian MPB mainstay Ivan Lins. “This is the smiling hour.” Warm, wise and wonderful, the beautiful I’m Willing will put a grin on your face that long outlasts 60 minutes. [Press release via Tin Angel Records]

Cover Art:
marker-starling-im-willing

Artist: Marker Starling
Title of Album: I’m Willing
Release Date: January 13,  2017
Label: Tin Angel Records

Track Listing:
1. Stormy
2. Perfect Day
3. I’m Willing
4. For Real
5. Amsterdam
6. Lost In The Paradise
7. The Meaning Of Love
8. Would You Believe In Me
9. Moves
10. The Smiling Hour (Abre Alas)

Follow ‘Marker Starling’ on:
Facebook | Twitter

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New Album: Ásgeir – Afterglow (2017/05/05) // First Single ‘Unbound’

:: Absolutely beautiful!

 

Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and collaborator; the mighty Ásgeir returns in 2017 with his highly anticipated brand new album, ‘Afterglow’. The Icelandic artist has spent three years honing and perfecting the eleven tracks that make up this magnificent and affecting body of work. Lead single ‘Unbound’ is a stunning, yearning piece of music – surely a career-defining moment for the musician, who’s follow up to debut album ‘In The Silence’ is greatly anticipated by fans worldwide.

The brand new record, which is released on 5th May 2017, sees Ásgeir depart from the sentiment and sound of his debut album in many ways, bringing a great deal more electronic instrumentation into the fold, and adopting r’n’b and soul elements. The album leaves behind the folk-tinged acoustics of ‘In The Silence’ and dives head first into melancholic, melodic electronica in its purest form. The spell-binding artist has also once again collaborated with his father, Einar Georg, for ‘Afterglow’, who is credited with writing the lyrics for the entire album alongside long-time musical collaborators, Ásgeir’s brother, Thorsteinn, Julius Robertsson & Hogni.

Renowned for his silky, falsetto vocal, the musician has previously drawn comparisons to Bon Iver, James Blake and Kings of Convenience, however ‘Afterglow’ sees Ásgeir refine his own distinctive style. The record undoubtedly comes from a place of darkness, reminiscent of ANOHNI’s ‘HOPELESSNESS’, yet it retains an essence of hopefulness at its core. Talking about ‘Afterglow’, Ásgeir said: “I feel like I have achieved plenty already with this album, gotten to know myself better, feel like I’ve grown a lot. Not just because of the album, but it has definitely helped.”

Ásgeir couldn’t have predicted the immensity of his success off the back of 2014 debut album, ‘In The Silence’ – coming from the Icelandic town of Laugarbakki, populated by just 40 people, Ásgeir is every bit as introverted, humble and unassuming as he is gifted. The same year, Ásgeir sold out two shows at Sydney Opera House, one at Shepard’s Bush Empire and played a mesmerising show at London’s Union Chapel, which sold out months in advance. The original Icelandic version of the album, ‘Dyrd í dauðathogn’, became the fastest selling debut from a home grown artist in Iceland, breaking all previous records and outselling Bjork and Sigur Ros by a long way.

The album won Ásgeir four Iceland Music Awards and a nomination for the prestigious Nordic Music Prize. In October 2014 he also picked up an EBBA Award for cross-border European chart success. The ubiquity of Dýrð í dauðaþögn caught the attention of musician John Grant, and the Midlake collaborator immediately recognised Ásgeir’s musical talent. Grant saw plenty of beauty in the album’s lyrics—a poetic collection touching on nature, fantastical creatures, weather and old short stories—and he ended up translating the lyrics into English for the international version of the album, titled ‘In The Silence’.

Over 10% of the entire Icelandic population now own ‘Dýrð í dauðaþögn’, and the album has accumulated over 70million streams worldwide. Debut single ‘King and Cross’ was #1 on the Spotify Viral Charts in the UK, achieving over 4.7m views on YouTube, while second single ‘Torrent’ was #10 in the same week on the same chart. The record had hit the top 10 in Australia, and the top 40 in the UK, France, Japan, Denmark, Holland and Belgium. At just 20 years of age, Ásgeir had become an overnight sensation. [Press release via One Little Indian]

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Cover Art:
sgeir-afterglow-album-artwork_custom-91513cb1e810dd6cdf761042c29a460184dd7a62-s700-c85

Artist: Ásgeir
Title of Album: Afterglow
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Label: One Little Indian

Track Listing:
1 Afterglow
2 Unbound
3 Stardust
4 Here Comes the Wave in
5 Underneath It
6 Nothing
7 I Know You Know
8 Dreaming
9 New Day
10 Fennir Yfir
11 Hold
12 Afterglow (Alternative Version)
13 Unbound (Alternative Version)
14 Where Is My Mind
15 Trust

Upcoming Tour Dates:
May 6 // Train // Aarhus, Denmark
May 7 // Vega // Copenhagen, Denmark
May 9 // Festaal Kreuzberg // Berlin, Germany
May 10 // Mojo Club // Hamburg, Germany
May 12 // Plaza // Zurich, Switzerland
May 13 // Strom // Munich, Germany
May 15 // Cabaret Sauvage // Paris, France
May 16 // CIRQUE ROYAL-KONINKLIJK CIRCUS Bruxelles // Brussel, Belgium
May 17 // Luxor // Cologne, Germany
May 18 // Paradiso // Amsterdam, Netherlands
>> The full touring schedule is available here.

Follow ‘Ásgeir’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud

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More ‘Ásgeir’ on Music Pickings:
2014, Nov 24 – New: It Will Rain / ‘In The Silence’ Deluxe Edition / ‘King and Cross’ [Electric Piano Version]
2014, Apr 20 − New Single: Here it Comes (2014/04/19)
2014, Jan 23 – Debut Album: In The Silence (2014/01/27) [Full Album Stream]
2013, Nov 14 − New Single: Torrent [Video Portrait] (2013/12/16)
2013, Aug 08 − Debut Single: King and Cross [Official Video] (2013/08/12)

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Debut Album: Syd – Fin (2017/02/03) [Full Album Stream]

:: Ready for The Internet Syd’s album, Fin!


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Cover Art:

syd-fin-1485878406-640x640

Artist: Syd
Title of Debut Album: Fin
Release Date: February 03, 2017
Label: Columbia Records

Track Listing:
1 Explicit Shake Em Off
2 Know
3 No Complaints
4 Nothin to Somethin
5 All About Me
6 Smile More
7 Got Her Own
8 Drown in It
9 Body
10 Dollar Bills
11 Over (feat. 6LACK)
12 Insecurities


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Follow ‘Syd’ on:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Instagram

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Read more: Fader interview

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New Album: Thundercat – Drunk (2017/02/24) / New Single ‘Show You The Way’

:: Yes! Yes! Yes!

Thundercat will release his third full-length studio album “Drunk” on 24th February 2017 via Brainfeeder. The album is a 23-track epic journey into the often hilarious, sometimes dark mind of the Grammy-winning singer/bassist and finds a few of his friends joining him along the way including: Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Wiz Khalifa, Kamasi Washington and Brainfeeder mastermind Flying Lotus. “Drunk” is the follow up to his widely praised 2015 mini album “The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam”, and features fan favourite tracks ‘Bus In These Streets’ and ‘Them Changes’.

‘Show You The Way’ is the first single from “Drunk”, and the ballad features two of Thundercat’s heroes: iconic musicians Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. And how did this collaboration come to be? Thundercat mentioned his love of Loggins several times during his press tour for “The Beyond…” (Dinner Party Download, Billboard), leading to an introduction via his keyboard player Dennis Hamm. He tells Red Bull Music Academy Daily: “These are guys that I’ve listened to and where I felt that I’ve learned that honesty in the music. Kenny Loggins is one of my favourite songwriters.” Loggins was the one that suggested bringing McDonald in on the track and, Thundercat adds: “I think one of the most beautiful moments was realising how amazing Michael McDonald is. He would go through so many ideas and have so much to offer.”

Thundercat also notes: “That song to me is about going down the rabbit hole, taking you to another place… On the edge of dark, there’s the brightest light. It means a lot to me in the sense of… the experience that I’ve had growing up with friends and people that I’ve been around where it’s inviting them into where I come from emotionally. Sometimes it’s a pretty intense thing. The point is how weird things can get. I feel like it’s very funny that, in a way, of course Michael McDonald and Kenny would be there.”

The album title, like the rest of the album, is meant to be both humorous and serious. “I’ve always tried to hold true to what Erykah Badu and Flying Lotus told me: It has to come from an honest place. I feel like it’s a place that I’ve been in different ways, seen different angles of and it’s been a bit inspirational – the drinking,” he tells RBMA Daily. “It has its ups and downs and everything, but I felt like it showed the human side of what goes on behind things, something that I see with all of my friends… I felt like it was kind of interweaved in the music culture. And it’s something that’s never talked about.” [Press release via Ninja Tune]

Cover Art:
drunk-main

Artist: Thundercat
Title of Album: Drunk
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Label: Brainfeeder

Track Listing:
01. Rabbot Ho
02. Captain Stupido
03. Uh Uh
04. Bus In These Streets
05. A Fan’s Mail (Tron Song Suite II)
06. Lava Lamp
07. Jethro
08. Day & Night
09. Show You The Way (feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins)
10. Walk On By (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
11. Blackkk
12. Tokyo
13. Jameel’s Space Ride
14. Friend Zone
15. Them Changes
16. Where I’m Going
17. Drink Dat (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
18. Inferno
19. I Am Crazy
20. 3AM
21. Drunk
22. The Turn Down (feat. Pharrell)
23. DUI

Upcoming Tour Dates:
12 Feb // The Independent // San Francisco, CA – SOLD OUT
13 Feb // The Independent // San Francisco, CA – SOLD OUT
14 Feb // The Independent // San Francisco, CA – SOLD OUT
16 Feb // Wonder Ballroom // Portland, OR
17 Feb // Rickshaw Theatre // Vancouver, BC
18 Feb // Wild Buffalo // Bellingham, WA
19 Feb // Barboza // Seattle, WA – SOLD OUT
21 Feb // Urban Lounge // Salt Lake City, UT
22 Feb // Bluebird Theater // Denver, CO
24 Feb // Fine Line Music Cafe // Minneapolis, MN
25 Feb // Concord Music Hall // Chicago, IL
26 Feb // Magic Stick // Detroit, MI
28 Feb // Danforth Music Hall // Toronto, ON
01 Mar // SAT // Montreal, QC
02 Mar // Paradise – Boston, MA – SOLD OUT
>> The full touring schedule is available here

Follow ‘Thundercat’ on:
Twitter

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More ‘Thundercat’ on Music Pickings:
2016, Jun 20 – New Track: Them Changes / New Mini-Album ‘The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam’
2014, Dec 19 – New Song: Them Changes
2013, May 23 – New Single: Oh Sheit It’s X
2013, Apr 19 – New Single: Heartbreaks + Setbacks / New Album ‘Apocalypse’ (2013/06/08) 
2011, Aug 17 – The Golden Age of Apocalypse
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Listen: Oscar Jerome – 2 Sides

:: Nice one!


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24 year old self made artist Oscar Jerome has been honing his craft as a musician and writer since a young age. He has worked as vocalist, guitarist and composer with countless acts and grown through the thriving South London music scene since he moved there 6 years ago.

In his solo project Jerome brings all of his influences together, sighting artists such as John Martyn, MF Doom, Ebo Taylor, John Coltrane, Gil Scott Heron and Jay Dilla. Oscar’s song writing is motivated by politics, spirituality within music and life experiences. His creative vision is to always make music with sincerity and pay homage to his countless inspirations.

With an acclaimed live show that has taken in Steez, Jazz Cafe, Clore Ballroom, Love Supreme Festival, Richmix, Bussey Building, Brainchild Festival and Hootannany amongst others, Jerome’s well on his way to becoming a major draw. [Press Release via Facebook]

Cover Art:
oscar-jerome

Artist: Oscar Jerome
Title of EP: Oscar Jerome
Release Date: November 2, 2016
Label: Independent

Tracklist:
1 Give Back What You Stole from Me
2 Sides
3 You Take Me
4 Evil Song

Follow ‘Oscar Jerome’ on:
Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Bandcamp

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