MELOTIKA Releases New Video for “Bittersweet Reality”

Melotika is an indie/pop artist based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and the alter-ego of singer/songwriter Mel Yelle. Born and raised in Montreal, Mel’s rich, smoky vocals remind me at times of fellow Quebecois Celine Dion, with whom she also bears a striking resemblance. She teamed up with electronic DJ/producer Jackman Jones (also known as Mista T Dot) to create urban beats for her debut EP Unaware, which dropped this past March. I reviewed her sultry single “Unaware Part II [Blindside]” in February, which you can read here.

Melotika

She’s just released a stylish new video for “Bittersweet Reality,” one of the tracks on Unaware. The song features cool synths set to a hypnotic dark wave dance beat, with hand claps, kick drum, bass and chanted backing vocals adding fullness to the sound. Mel’s vocals have a sense of bitter resignation as she sings about the conflict between our reality and the self-image of the persona we project to the world based on who we think we should be: “Doesn’t matter what we say, you won’t believe it anyway. Done my time but talk is cheap. Your bittersweet reality. Running back and forth at times can drain all my energy.”

About the video, Mel explains “‘Bittersweet Reality’ is about losing yourself in a synthetic realm of beauty and social media appearance. The character I am playing is a vulnerable side of me believing everything the media has taught me, and on the other hand rebelling against it.”

She’s shown scrolling through her social media accounts on her mobile device, elated one moment, then frustrated and angry the next as she reacts to either the attention she feels she deserves or criticism – or even worse, indifference – which pisses her off (sentiments I can certainly attest to feeling at times). Ultimately, she suffers a meltdown over all the conflicted emotions. Take a look:

Connect with Melotika on  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on iTunes or Bandcamp

SUM Releases Video For Their Uplifting New Single “It’s Alright to Be Me”

SUM2

SUM is a New York City-based band with an admirable philosophy and loads of talent. They’ve created their identity from the meaning of the Latin word “Sum” (pronounced “soom”), which means “to be” or “I am.” Their aim is to inspire us to accept who we are and to understand and embrace our own uniqueness.  Their exuberant music style, born from a fusion of jazz, soul, hip hop and pop, is beautifully showcased on their uplifting new single “It’s Alright to Be Me.” It’s the first single from their forthcoming self-titled debut album SUM, due for release in late September.

The band is lead by drummer, composer and arranger Steve Belvilus, and the lovely soulful vocals are courtesy of the engaging Patryce Williams, who’s also a professional actress. Rounding out the ensemble are Joel Desroches (Piano), Olivier R. (Keys), Andrew Gould (Sax), Gil “XL” Defay (Trumpet) and Francesco Beccaro (Bass). In an interview with VENTS Magazine, Steve explained their reasoning behind writing “It’s Alright to Be Me”:  “When we played shows, people kept messing up the name of our band and we always had to explain the meaning. So I decided to write a song that hopefully will become a hit so that we don’t have to explain ourselves anymore.

Lyrically, the track explains what the band is all about, and was created to be their defining song, and also an anthem of empowerment:

At a young age struggling to become all I can be
I was afraid to show the treasures inside of me
Many people wanted to make fun of me
But now I see the light that’s been in me

The light is the essence inside of me
The “I” you see is bright and shines all over me
SUM is the Latin word that defines me
It means the “I” that’s bright in me

I don’t care if you don’t like what’s within
I’d rather be myself cause that’s all I can be
SUM means I or to be the essence of me
It’s alright to be me, that’s what SUM means to me

The heartwarming and charming video skillfully captures the message expressed in the lyrics. It opens in a classroom, where Patryce plays both a teacher and a student who’s tormented by a classmate. Later on, the band is shown performing the song at a small party, and the boy who teased the childhood Patryce is now an adult. He approaches her adult self with a gift and an apology, and all is forgiven as they hug one another. Take a look:

Connect with SUM:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream or purchase “It’s Alright to Be Me” on Bandcamp

Disciples of Babylon Release New Video for “Without You”

L.A.-based alt-rock band Disciples of Babylon are one of my favorite indie bands, and I’ve featured them numerous times on this blog. They’ve just released a superb new video for their fantastic single “Without You,” which came out almost exactly a year ago, at the end of July 2017. (You can read my review here.)  The song was a huge hit on my Weekly Top 30, peaking at #1 for two weeks at the end of December into early January 2018.

The video shows the band performing the hard-hitting song in a warehouse setting, and really showcases the raw power and charisma of front man and lead vocalist Eric Knight as he belts out the biting lyrics. Making the music are Ramón Blanco on lead guitar, Gui Bodi on bass and backing vocals, and Chris Toeller on drums. The video was filmed by Marco “Toma” Tomaselli and edited by Knight.

Follow Disciples of Babylon:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / Reverbnation / YouTube
Purchase:  iTunes / Amazon / Bandcamp

LUNA ROSA Release Fundraiser Single & Video “Fear, Filth, Dirt & Death”

Luna Rosa Single Art

Luna Rosa is an outstanding Alternative/Psych/Indie rock four-piece formed in 2015, and hailing from Corby, Northamptonshire, UK. Making the music are Rory McDade (guitar, lead vocals), Aidan Furey (guitar, moves), Jack Connolly (drums, howls) and Charlie Thorneycroft (bass, noises). They released a superb self-titled EP Luna Rosa that same year, and followed up in 2017 with a fantastic double single “Mercurial Man/Vessels.” They now return with a powerful new single “Fear, Filth, Dirt & Death.

The song is a scathing attack on the negative aspects of Capitalism that helped make the fire at Grenfell Tower all the more deadly. (The cheap – and highly flammable –  insulating cladding used for the building renovation in 2017, just prior to the fire, is now believed to have caused the fire to spread much more rapidly.)

Musically, the track starts off with a galloping drumbeat and a scratchy guitar note, then explodes into a furious barrage of roiling guitar riffs and thunderous drums that seem to channel The Clash. The hard-driving music perfectly fits the harsh lyrics:

Fear Filth Dirt & Death
There’s fucking nothing left
The rest is left for the one percent at best
Look out for yourself
Prisoners of the State

Fear Filth Dirt & Death
You take away our NHS
It’s cause we matter less and less I know
It’s in your best interest

Heroes are buried in paupers graves
The money worth the morals you trade?
How come the ivory towers ain’t burning?
Grenfell fell for your earning
Prisoners of the State

The band explained their intent behind the song: “All money generated from the single as well as merchandise sales will be going to the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster. We are under no illusion that we can give these people what they need or deserve, but we feel the need to make the gesture and let them know that we stand with them.  Although dubious on whether to release this, as we didn’t want to cause anymore hurt, we thought there’s no better way to bring people together and show support than music.”

If you can donate £1 via our justgiving page, leaving your name and email we will get the song over to you:  https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/luna-rosa-single

Or you can buy it through our Bandcamp page and we will make sure everything goes over:  https://lunarosa.bandcamp.com/track/fear-filth-dirt-death

If you cant spare the £1 then please share!

Further Merchandise sales will be going to Firefighters & NHS Nurses. Thank you to Jordan Cameron for creating and donating the artwork to the cause.

Catch Luna Rosa at one of these upcoming shows:

Saturday, July 21  –  Percy’s Cafe Bar, Whitechurch, England w/Porcelain Hill

Saturday, July 28  –  Wrexfest 2018, Wrexham, Wales

Thursday, August 2  –  Kaleidoscope, Birmingham, England 

Friday, August 17  –  Shout About It, Liverpool, England

Saturday, August 18  –  Voodoo Lounge, Stamford, England w/Failsafe, Ten Years Dead

Friday, August 31  –  The Cookie, Leicester, England w/Oddity Road

Saturday, September 8  –  Rocked Up Hootenanny 2018, Rockingham Motor Speedway, Corby, England

Connect with Luna Rosa: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music: Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

German band Atlanta Arrival Launches Charity Fundraiser Tribute Single “Colliding Stars”

Atlanta Arrival CollidingStars

German alt-rock band Atlanta Arrival has launched a charity fundraiser for their drummer Björn Mertz, who passed away after a long battle with cancer on May 17, 2018. They’ve released a new single “Colliding Stars” in his honor. Here is their statement regarding his passing and the fundraiser:

On 17th May, we had to say goodbye to our dear son, brother, uncle, friend and drummer Björn Mertz. He was a fighter and an optimist, always determined to support his beloved ones instead of burdening them with his own stroke of fate. After months of battling cancer, it seemed like a miracle when he left the hospital cancer-free at the beginning of this year – still full of enthusiasm and joy of living. He enjoyed the time with friends and family and poured all his energy into his music, his one true passion. So, after our former band The Satellite Year split up, we composed an album that was supposed to be our next project.

Björn was about to go to a health resort, so we wanted to record the songs afterwards – but as if he had had a vision, he insisted on finishing the recording of the drums before his leave. And so he did: 9 songs in only 8 hours! At this time there was no way that anybody could have known that he was already developing a number of new tumors. While his friends believed that Björn was at the health resort as planned, really he was staying at the Uniklinik Homburg, a hospital, again fighting a battle against cancer with only his family by his side – and he did fight to the last. There is no rational explanation for what had happened during the last few weeks of his life or why this even had to happen. Similarly, there are no words for the pain and grief we feel. But should pain, emptiness and misery be the only things left? He himself would not have wanted this.

Therefore, it’s the deepest wish of his family and friends that Björn’s music and with it his unique spirit live on. We finished Björn’s favourite song of the album as well as a music video and kindly ask you to donate whatever you want and can afford to give, in order to support the German Cancer Foundation.”

Here are the poignant lyrics to “Colliding Stars”:

Yesterday when you woke up
Welcomed with the kiss of night
All your pain was gently stopped
You left soundless with the light

Every day when we wake up
Not aware of what will come
Your memory will stay the same
You told us to seize the day

Every day we think of you
wondering what you’re up to
You had to go, no one to blame
You will never fade away

In the night sky there’s no light
Stars are born just to collide
We’re listening to your symphony
But in our own melody

Goodbye old friend
We’re by your side
And in the end
We’ll meet again

You can download a digital version of the song on their Bandcamp page and also have the possibility to order the single CD version of the song (limited, only 200 CDs) for 5 € (or more if you like to donate more). All profits will be fully donated.

Donation via paypal:
https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8575pb3xy9

If you don’t like to use paypal, you can also donate via bank transfer, immediately to the bank account of the German Cancer Foundation. Please use AK49006741 as a reference.
Bank account:
Kreissparkasse Köln
IBAN DE65 3705 0299 0000 9191 91
SWIFT/BIC COKSDE 33XXX

Björn’s family, friends and band would like to thank you from the bottom of their hearts for each cent they are able to donate to the German Cancer Foundation in Björn’s name.

CARBONWORKS – Video Premier: “End of the World Suite Part 3: The End”

CarbonWorks is not your typical band. It’s more a collective of talented session musicians, headed by its creator and guitarist Neal Barnard – who also happens to be a world-renowned medical doctor. Based in Washington, D.C., the band’s music is a unique fusion of rock, contemporary classical, jazz, blues and avant-garde, giving their sound an uncommon breadth and depth. With delicate melodies over driving rhythms, blues overlying classical strings, and frequent use of non-English lyrics, their songs defy categorization. As Neal Barnard explains, their unconventional time meters “tilt the song ever so slightly and give you that little jolt between the ears.

CarbonWorks2

The band released their extraordinary debut self-titled album CarbonWorks in December 2016 to rave reviews, and have been periodically releasing a new video for one of the album tracks.  In May 2017, I premiered the video for their gorgeous track “Monaco,” and am now delighted to premier their new videos for “End of the World Suite Part 3: The End” as well as “End of the World Suite Part 4: Winged Victory.” As indicated by their titles, the beautiful tracks are the completion of an ambitious four-part suite.

“Part 1: The Beginning of the End” is a mix of contemporary classical and rock, while “Part 2: Love and Illusion” combines classical, folk and jazz elements. For “Part 3: The End,” progressive jazz is the predominant element. The generous use of strings, including violin, cello and bass, combined with the gorgeous jazzy saxophone, guitar and drums, result in a truly stunning track. Barnard describes the track thusly: “Part 3 (“The End”) launches with cool bebop bass played by Jeff Reed. Russell jumps in on sax, with Mike on drums and me on guitar. Then the strings come in bringing a baroque element that somehow works with the driving jazz.” Although it’s six minutes long, it’s so wonderful that it seems over far too soon.

The suite ends with “Part 4: Winged Victory,” a brief but lovely track with a complex mix of classical and rock overtones, and features the dan tranh, a traditional Vietnamese instrument that’s similar to a Japanese koto. It also features sublime vocals sung in Latin by Italian singer Naif Herin, who ends with the words ” Beati pauperes spiritu, Beati pacifici,” which translated means “Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the peacemakers.”

Both videos show the band performing the songs, which I always enjoy seeing.

Connect with CarbonWorks:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on  Soundcloud / Pandora / Apple Music
Purchase on  iTunes / Amazon

FROM THE CAVE Release a Brilliant Video for “Cavalier”

From the Cave Cavalier

London-based From the Cave are quickly becoming one of my favorite indie bands. The amazingly talented quintet play a unique style of alternative rock that seems to incorporate an eclectic mix of funk, pop, shoegaze, punk, blues and Gypsy influences. They released their self-titled debut EP From the Cave in 2016, and in 2017 began dropping a series of new singles. Last fall I reviewed their beautiful “Halloween” and the gorgeous video they produced for the song (which you can read here). They’ve just released a new single “Cavalier” that will be included on their upcoming EP, and have produced a fantastic new video for the track.

The five-member band consists of Kristian Møller-Munar on vocals and guitar, Mikaela Lindgren on vocals, keys and percussion, Josh Scriven on guitar and vocals, Johan Crondahl on bass, and Anton Vysotsky on drums. “Cavalier” is a delightful love song with a rousing Gypsy dance vibe. The band employs all kinds of synths and strings, including guitar and violin but also possibly zither, cimbalom and/or mandolin, to create an intriguing Eastern European sound that’s incredibly catchy and wonderful. Kristian’s vocals are captivating as he expresses his frustration that the object of his desire keeps rebuffing his romantic intentions. “I could be your cavalier if you like me. I’m sitting by the cabaret but you don’t mind me. / But angel, I’ve been waiting for long. Still I’m writing you songs.”

Like their two previous animated videos, this one was also created by Kristian, who’s clearly a skilled and highly imaginative videographer. The trippy, psychedelic imagery is intensely colorful, and tells the story laid out in the song. It starts off in a cabaret, where the band is performing the song. Suddenly the cabaret seems to be swallowed by a creature, then we’re taken into a series of tunnels that are possibly the creature’s insides. We quickly return to the continually shape-shifting cabaret, in which the protagonist appears to be floating aimlessly, possibly symbolizing his sense of futility and feeling adrift in the situation. It’s brilliant and I love it!

Connect with From the Cave:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud
Purchase: Bandcamp

 

RUSTY SHIPP Release New Video for “SS Naronic”

Nashville rock band Rusty Shipp released their monumental album Mortal Ghost in 2017 to wide acclaim. Over the past several months they’ve been producing videos for different tracks off the album, and last November they released a terrific animated video for “Treading Water,” which I reviewed. They’ve now released an amazing new video for another track “SS Naronic,” a dramatic song about a ship that sank on February 19, 1893. The band chose today for the release to commemorate that fateful event.

Rusty Shipp calls itself a “Nautical Rock’n’Roll” band, with a sound influenced by the melodic chord progressions of The Beatles, the surf guitar of Dick Dale, the grunge rock of Nirvana, and the heavy metal of Led Zeppelin, among others. Their music is characterized by a dark, underwater sound, haunting vocals, and heavy riffs. The band consists of singer/songwriter and front man Russ T. Shipp (literally his birth name) on guitar and vocals, Elijah Apperson on lead guitar, AJ Newton on drums and Michael Craft on bass.

Rusty Shipp2

The SS Naronic was a steamship built in Belfast for the White Star Line. Eight days after leaving Liverpool for New York on February 11, 1893, the ship was lost at sea, along with all 74 people on board. According to Wikipedia, the exact cause of the ship’s sinking was never determined. However, messages found later that had been written by passengers and placed in bottles once they realized their ship was sinking seemed to indicate that it hit an iceberg. Rusty Shipp based their lyrics for the song on some of those actual messages. A particularly poignant line is “Oh god please tell me there is more than this, that this cold abyss is not the end.” Another is “Cattle and charcoal jettisoned to save the boat. But we won’t stay afloat.”

The hard-hitting song features intense, gritty guitars, heavy bass and lots of crashing cymbals, perfectly conveying the horror of the awful tragedy. The superb illustrated animation video was created by Hein Zaayman of Vohnic Music LLC, the same artist who illustrated the Mortal Ghost album cover. The brilliant use of sepia tones gives the video an historical feel.

Connect with Rusty Shipp: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music: Spotify / Soundcloud / Reverbnation / YouTube
Purchase: iTunes / cdbaby / Bandcamp

Drake gives away nearly $1 million in his new video for “God’s Plan”

Hip hop superstar Drake released a new video today for his latest single “God’s Plan,” which is currently #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and numerous R&B, Hip-Hop and Rap charts. At the beginning of the video, a caption states “The budget for this video was $996,631.90. We gave it all away. Don’t tell the label.” The video goes on to show Drake buying groceries for everyone in a supermarket, surprising random people on the street to whom he gives money, buying toys for kids at a mall, surprising a family with a new car, making donations to the Miami Fire Department, a women’s shelter, and more.  Within hours, multiple videos were made by others showing people’s reactions to the video.

While one could argue that it’s all for publicity, it was still a nice thing for Drake to do. It’s certainly money well-spent, generating more good will than simply a million-dollar’s worth of ads.

Here’s the official music video:

FROM THE CAVE Release a Gorgeous Video for their new single “Halloween”

From the Cave

From the Cave is an alternative indie rock band based in London, UK, and on 31 October they appropriately released a stunning new single “Halloween,” along with an equally stunning video. I’m only getting around to featuring it now, as I just discovered it a few days ago. I was instantly blown away by both song and video, which is quite honestly one of the most interesting and visually captivating videos I’ve seen in a long while.

The five-member band consists of Kristian Møller-Munar on vocals and guitar, Mikaela Lindgren on vocals, keys and percussion, Josh Scriven on guitar and vocals, Johan Crondahl on bass, and Anton Vysotsky on drums. They released their self-titled debut EP From the Cave in 2016, and in 2017 have followed up with a series of singles, the fourth of which is “Halloween.” They plan to released a full album in early 2018.

From the Cave2

“Halloween” starts off with quiet, mysterious synths and plucky guitar, followed by gentle percussion and a soft chorus, then Mikaela’s lovely vocals enter the proceedings. The music swells with added synths and layered jangly guitars, and Kristian’s vocals join in, harmonizing beautifully with Mikaela’s. The guitars, bass and drums become more intense as the song progresses, making for a dramatically sweeping song that raises goosebumps.

I may be off-base, but my take on the song’s meaning is that it’s about a relationship where the partners are hiding behind a mask of sorts, unable to be open or honest with each other – hence the title “Halloween.”

I try to see you from the outside
But you were hiding in my mind
I’m walking over to a brighter light
The door is closed I hear a voice
Do we ever have a choice?
Halloween Halloween

The gorgeous and intensely colorful animated video, which was created by Kristian, shows a vehicle traveling across an ever-changing fantasyland of earth, water and sky. It’s like a psychedelic trip through the Land of Oz with Harry Potter and his friends. I love it!

Connect with From the Cave:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud
Purchase: Bandcamp