Fresh New Tracks Vol. V

There continues to be such a tremendous amount of new music being released that I simply cannot keep up with it all! Consequently, I’m going to have to do more of these group posts in order to feature more artists and songs. Here are three great new singles by artists or bands located on the west coast of North America, (in alphabetical order) Bealby Point, Matt Jaffe and Yard of Blondes.

“I’m So Bummed Out Right Now” by Bealby Point

Named after their favorite beachside vacation spot, Canadian alt-rock band Bealby Point had a rather serendipitous beginning. Comprised of four childhood friends who grew up in North Vancouver – Jack Armstrong (lead vocals), Jordan Studer (bass), Clayton Dewar (lead guitar) and Zack Yeager (drums) – Jack and Jordan were already a two-piece band when, one day in 2018, they stumbled upon music coming from the house of their old friends Clayton and Zack, who were also playing as a two-piece. The four reconnected, quickly realizing they complemented each other’s instruments and music styles, and Bealby Point was born.

On February 17th, they released their debut single “I’m So Bummed Out Right Now“. Recorded with veteran producer Matt Di Pomponio, the single will be included on their forthcoming EP, due out later this year. The band states the song was inspired by missing out on opportunities to hang out, have fun, and create memories with your best friends because of being stuck at home during the recurring lockdowns. The upbeat melody, buoyant guitars and snappy drums create a fun, breezy vibe that contrasts with the melancholy lyrics about feeling lonely and isolated, beautifully sung by Jack in vocals that go from a vulnerable croon to plaintive falsetto: “I’m so bummed out right now. Don’t leave me behind. Don’t leave me inside. Watch my friends through a screen. Stuck in a box, alone without me. Having fun without me. Making me feel, oh so lonely.” It’s a fine debut from Bealby Point, and I look forward to hearing more from these guys.

Follow Bealby Point:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

“Time Traveler” by Matt Jaffe

Matt Jaffe is a talented, hard-working and silky-voiced young singer-songwriter based in San Francisco who’s been making music since his early teens. While playing at an open mic one evening when he was only 16, he was discovered by Jerry Harrison of the band Talking Heads, who went on to help him produce his first album. In the years since, he’s written scores of songs, released three more albums, and has performed as an opening act for Blues Traveler and Wilco, as well as co-written songs with Tom Higgenson of the Plain White T’s. Matt has also served as musical director for experimental theater, collaborated with poets on genre-bending spoken word, and curated residencies among fellow songwriters. And if that’s not enough, he also volunteers with Bread & Roses, a non-profit that brings live music to facilities such as prisons, rehab centers, and foster homes. Having suffered from seizures himself since 2015, Matt also uses his music to unite local and national epilepsy communities.

Matt released his fourth album Undertoad on February 12th, and I especially like one of its singles “Time Traveler“. It’s a melodic and beautiful track, with exuberant jangly guitars and lush sweeping synths that build to a dramatic and glorious wall of sound. I’m a fan of male voices in the higher ranges, and Matt’s vocals are stunning as he fervently sings the lyrics that speak to regrets for past mistakes and time wasted: “I’m the time traveler, and what I were to flip the hourglass. Watch promise of the future turn to phantoms of the past. I wasted all my moments dear, traversing centuries. Cause it not time, but distances, dividing you and me.” “Time Traveler” is a magnificent track, and I think it’s one of Matt’s finest.

Follow Matt:  FacebookTwitterInstagram 

“Hummingbird” by Yard of Blondes

From humble beginnings in France as a folk pop duo making mostly acoustic music, Yard of Blondes have come a long way in the years since relocating to Los Angeles in 2014. Now a four-piece, they’ve made a splash on the L.A. music scene with their exciting and edgy style of alternative rock. The band is comprised of French-born singer/songwriter and guitarist/vocalist Vincent Walter Jacob and bassist/vocalist Fanny Hulard, Turkish-born guitarist Burak Yerebakan, and California native Forrest Mitchell on drums and backing vocals. Yard of Blondes are no stranger to this blog, as I’ve previously featured them three times, most recently last October when I reviewed their last single “Do You Need More?” On February 19th, they released “Hummingbird“, the fourth and final single from their forthcoming debut album Feed the Moon, due out later this year. The single and album were produced by Billy Graziadei, mixed by Michael Patterson, and mastered by Maor Applebaum.

Never shy to take on social and political issues, the band actually wrote “Hummingbird” a few years ago after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri that erupted after the killing of Michael Brown, as well as in the wake of yet another school mass shooting. They explain “Being in the U.S. for only a few years at this time, we came to realize America was dealing with a lot of things that were unresolved for decades and centuries. The growing appeal for conspiracies and alternative narratives also [played] a great part in our writing this song. Ironically, in the music video, we tried to picture an invisible threat coming at people, something like a virus, destroying our community. Now that we are in an actual pandemic the song takes on another meaning.

The song is a rampaging beast, with a barrage of jagged, gnarly guitars, driving bass and pummeling drums, befitting the dark and violent subject matter. Vincent and Fanny’s commanding vocals start off with an angry resignation as they lament “It’s happening again. It’s not a crime to shoot a humming hovering around. It’s happening again in my town. They’re killing hummingbirds. Soaked in blood. They soon grow more impassioned as they furiously scream their refusal to accept that the killings were provoked: “I don’t believe you when you said they attacked you! I don’t believe you now!” It all makes for a fearsome and compelling track, both musically and lyrically, and I think “Hummingbird” is their best song yet.

Follow Yard of Blondes:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

YARD OF BLONDES – Single Review: “Do You Need More?”

From humble beginnings in France as a folk pop duo making mostly acoustic music, Yard of Blondes have faced some of the same challenges and struggles as many young artists and bands experience since relocating to Los Angeles in 2014. Now a four-piece, they’re finally on an upward trajectory and making a name for themselves with their exciting and edgy style of alternative rock. The band is comprised of the hard-working French-born singer/songwriter and guitarist/vocalist Vincent Walter Jacob and bassist/vocalist Fanny Hulard, guitarist Burak Yerebakan, originally from Turkey, and Northern California native Forrest Mitchell on drums.

I’ve previously featured Yard of Blondes twice on this blog, first in July 2019 when I reviewed their marvelous bilingual single “Je veux danser tout l’été”, along with two alternative versions, then again this past February when I reviewed their single “Lowland”. (You can read those reviews by clicking on the links under “Related” at the end of this post.) Now they’re back with “Do You Need More?“, the third single from their forthcoming debut album Feed the Moon, due for release early next year. The single and album were produced by Billy Graziadei (Biohazard, Powerflo), mixed by Michael Patterson (Nine Inch Nails, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) and mastered by Maor Applebaum (Faith No More).

In a recent interview with music blog TrueStyleMusic, Vincent provided some background on “Do You Need More?”: “It was one of the first songs we wrote for our upcoming album, and it’s the song we always play first at our shows. It’s a song that seems very straight forward, but it evolves into a more complicated piece as Fanny is adding more and more layers of vocals, and as we end up breaking the installed routine with some surprisingly heavy bridge. Regarding the lyrics, it’s also a tricky song. It feels like a love song at the beginning, but it’s actually a toxic love story where one gaslights another, and it ends up with kind of a Stockholm syndrome situation.

The song is a rampaging beast, storming through the gates like a bat out of hell with furious riffs of grimy guitars and a thunderous barrage of explosive rhythms. Fanny’s throbbing bass line propels the song forward while Forrest keeps pace with his pummeling drumbeats. Meanwhile, Vincent and Burak are busy laying to the airwaves with their aggressive, intertwining guitars, delivering chugging riffs of shredded distortion that threaten to blow out the speakers. Vincent and Fanny’s expressive vocals rise to the occasion, becoming downright feral in the chorus as they wail “Do you need more? Do you really need more? Gimme, gimme, gimme some more! I want it all!” Finally, everyone spent, the song fades out in a hum of reverb.

If the three singles released thus far – “You and I & I”, “Lowland” and “Do You Need More?” are any indication, Feed the Moon is guaranteed to be a terrific album.

Connect with Yard of Blondes:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple MusicSoundcloud
Purchase:  Bandcamp / Amazon

New Song of the Week – YARD OF BLONDES: “Lowland”

Yard of Blonds LOWLAND

Yard of Blondes is a French alternative rock band now based in Los Angeles. They started out as a folk pop act made up of singer/songwriter and guitarist/vocalist Vincent Walter Jacob and bassist/vocalist Fanny Hill, and after relocating to L.A., they expanded the band lineup with the addition of guitarist Burak Yerebakan and drummer Forrest Mitchell. They were featured on the 2016 compilation I love you all the time, along with Eagles Of Death Metal, Florence & The Machine, Kings Of Leon, Jimmy Eat World and many more. All the proceeds were given to the victims of the Paris attacks.

I featured Yard of Blondes last July (2019) when I reviewed their marvelously upbeat bilingual single “Je veux danser tout l’été”, along with two other alternative versions, a remix by French superstar DJ and producer Joachim Garraud, and a grungy home demo. The remix was produced in Garraud’s 100% solar-powered RV turned into a recording studio, in the middle of the Mojave desert which is documented in the music video for the song. Since then, they’ve been writing and recording new music for their first full-length album Feed the Moon, due for release later this year. The album was produced by Billy Graziadei (Biohazard, Powerflo), mixed by Michael Patterson (Nine Inch Nails, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) and mastered by Maor Applebaum (Faith No More).

On November 1, 2019 they released the first single “You and I & I” from the forthcoming album, and returned on Valentine’s Day with a second single “Lowland“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week. The single is accompanied by the release of a wonderful video produced by Fanny and Vincent, featuring footage filmed at LAX and Disneyland on their phones. About the song, Vincent explains “‘Lowland’ depicts the dark place we always go to when we are distressed. It’s the place where all our monsters live. In the song I feel I’m going back to that dark place, but this time you’ll accompany me to get out of here, just like Orpheus going to get Eurydice from death, except here the roles are reversed because Fanny is the one who is pulling me out from inside.”

The song features chugging riffs of exuberant layered guitars, propelled by hard-driving rhythms. Vincent and Burak’s guitar work is superb, and Forrest’s drums are spot-on, assertive yet restrained where needed. Fanny lays down a solid bass line while lending her soft backing vocals to the mix. Vincent’s beautiful, plaintive vocals convey a strong sense of vulnerability as he pleads for emotional support. Everything explodes in the bridge into a maelstrom of blistering riffs and thunderous percussion, Vincent’s raw, impassioned vocals rising to the occasion, and covering me with chills. It’s a fantastic, exhilarating track.

I got a one way ticket going back to Lowland
Keep me awake before I fall into the quicksand
Every plane I take
Every train I ride
Finally always lead me to that same old place

You take my hand
Sing a lullaby
Light the fireflies
Light the fireflies

I’m on my very own land I know every corner
I know exactly where is hiding the coroner
The tiger is here
Beside the lake of tears
I know exactly though the sun never rises

You take my hand
Sing a lullaby
Light the fireflies
Light the fireflies

Drifted eyes in fear
Scary palms shaking
All around

You take my hand
Sing a lullaby
And light the fireflies
Light the fire
You make me feel alive
Pull me out from inside
Your eyes are like a lighthouse
As you feed the moon I cry

Connect with Yard of Blondes:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase:  Google Play / Amazon

YARD OF BLONDS – Single/EP Review: “Je veux danser tout l’été”

Yard of Blondes is a French alternative rock band now based in Los Angeles. They started out as a folk pop act made up of singer/songwriter and guitarist/vocalist Vincent Walter Jacob and bassist/vocalist Fanny Hill. They released a self-titled two-track EP in 2011, then followed up with a second EP Murderology in 2013. In 2014, they shot a documentary film “Joshua Trip” for French television program France 4, which inspired them to write the song “Born Again”. Jacob and Hill decided to settle in L.A., and eventually expanded the Yard of Blondes lineup with the addition of guitarist Burak Yerebakan and drummer Forrest Mitchell. They’ve been writing and recording new music for a full album being produced by Billy Graziadei (Biohazard, Powerflo) and mixed by Michael Patterson (Nine Inch Nails, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club).

Yard of Blondes2

The first single they’re releasing is “Je veux danser tout l’été“, which translates to “I wanna dance all summer long.” It’s a fun, upbeat track that the band states is “lighter, happier and more pop-oriented” than their usual songs. The single was released as an EP on July 19th with three versions: the original rock version (produced by Billy Graziadei), a synth-driven remix by Joachim Garraud, and the initial demo version produced by the band themselves. The song features layers of Jacob and Yerebakan’s jangly and gnarly guitars, fortified by Hill’s buzzing bassline and Mitchell’s lively, thumping drumbeats. Jacob fervently croons about the joys of dancing with sheer abandon, while Hill giggles in the background: “I never felt so young. I never felt the lights. Like a blessing, like a symphony, shining on the pavement. A first time of the year that I can hear the buzz outside. And the lights are calling me. A call to dance around. Je veux danser tout l’été.

For the filming of the video, they collaborated with DJ/producer Joachim Garraud, who also did a special remix of the song in his unique and innovative solar powered and completely self-contained recording studio on wheels he’s dubbed LAGOODVIBE.

Here’s an entertaining video chronicling the band’s adventure traveling from Los Angeles out to the Mojave Desert to record the track, under the direction of Joachim Garraud on his LAGOODVIBE.

Catch Yard of Blondes at the Troubadour in West Hollywood on Saturday, August 31

Connect with Yard of Blondes:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase:  Google Play / Amazon