Best New Indie Music Discoveries (7/13/2021) – “Fastracks” 10
5 New indie tracks in less than 5 minutes f. Real Sickies, TooKnow, Mattia Cupelli, Peter Wise, Axel Thesleff & ShiShi.
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Edmonton’s Real Sickies have released their newest album “Love is for Lovers” via Stomp Records.
The band serves up yet another platter full of tasty hooks and punk rock melodies, but this time around with a dash of pop that shows a leap in songwriting craft. Recorded in Edmonton at Rob Lawless’ Physics Lab Studios, the album offers songs that straddle the border between Ramones style aggression and Strokes reminiscent vocal takes.
This color-vinyl release includes everything from explosive rockers to heart-wrenching ballads. “Love is for Lovers” is the whole enchilada!
Everybody knows that love is always best when it’s shared with friends and with special guests. It was only natural then, that they would hire Dave Bacon of SNFU to add bass and vocals to their cover of T-Rex’s “Jeepster” and for their own “Think of the Sunshine.”
When the band was ready to hit their more heartfelt numbers on the album, they enlisted local indie country sensation Lucette. Her soulful and emotive vocals can be heard on the duet “Give and Take.”
“We toyed with the idea of a duet for a bit and it made sense for us to keep it local but open up new doors to people we wouldn’t have otherwise gotten a chance to work with,” says singer Ben Disaster of the collaboration.
The band’s advances in songwriting skill is apparent with this latest release, and with good reason. “The album has been in the works since 2018,” says singer Ben Disaster. “We ended up scrapping songs a few times, I guess maybe more so demoing them and re-demoing them.
That wasn’t something we had really done in the past. More go go go go go.” A key part of the equation when listening to their new album is the production influence of Real Mckenzies’ bassist Mario Nieva.
Ben and Mario met unexpectedly in a B.C. Ferries restroom while their respective bands were on tour. Ben Disaster says of the encounter, “We hit it off talking about mental health and love and music, basic bathroom talk.
Mario ended up playing bass for us on the last night of the tour and we decided to get him to come out and lend a fresh set of ears to the album. That’s when it started taking a new form.”
Lyrically the album is a collection of stories about life on tour, wins and falls between friendships and relationships, growth, steps backward, addictions, and moments of sobriety. Singer Ben Disaster describes the theme of the album as “working through the ups and downs with those you love with the overall view that love is for everyone not just what is stated by outdated laws and beliefs.”
Regarding the title track “Love is for Lovers” specifically, Ben explains, “I really wanted to address some homophobic comments left on some of our videos by a specific individual. So funny to troll people about that, who are very open ended, so it was finally time to address that and the politics around love.”
Already the band has charted at #1 on campus radio for their teaser single “Lover is for Lovers” and the album’s official video for “Communication Breakdown” has racked up close to 100k in views on Youtube.
The Real Sickies are itching to get back on the road, and their touring history is proof of their dedication to pounding the pavement. The boys have been on the road with influential and acclaimed artists like Stiff Little Fingers, Subhumans UK, Chixdiggit, Real Mckenzies, Guida, 88 Fingers Louie, Mean Jeans, Ten Foot Pole, and a host of others.
As the pandemic seems to be coming close to an end, expect to see Real Sickies in a town near you soon.
And as Ben Disaster would have you remember, “No matter who you are you deserve love. Love is for lovers, so go out and get yours today!”
On July 5th TooKnow dropped their long awaited music video for their new single “Just Like Dat”, the first of many to come. The video was shot and edited by the Music of the Covenant label. From the song writing and producing skills, down to the visuals, here at Music of the Covenant it’s deeper than music, it’s about the vision coming to life.
Ambient-electronic producer Mattia Cupelli has released RUINS LP on the 9th of July via MC Records. On the LP, listeners will find, ‘IRIS’ accompanied by a conceptual video, as well as the previously released singles, ‘MONOLITH’ which was accompanied by an eerie video, the second provocative single ‘EGERIA’ which was playlisted by NPR Music radio stations and the gently nourishing ‘CHANT’.
Cupelli has received support from the tastemaker publications including CLASH Magazine, XLR8R, Son Of Marketing, Mxdwn, and XS Noize, to name a few. In total, the producer has earned over 76 million plays on Youtube and Spotify alone with features on the Sir Chillicious and Reveral Music Youtube channels and La Belle Musique’s Spotify Playlist to boot.
Hailing from Rome, Italy, the producer seeks inspiration in the classics, calling upon the likes of Nils Frahm, Nicolas Jaar, Ryuichi Sakamoto. As he creates his own unique style, Mattia Cupelli uses neo-classical influences and modern concepts, blurring the line between electronic and organic. Calling to mind the likes of Tim Hecker, Ben Frost and Forest Swords, the producer manages to create fantasy worlds within his music.
As Mattia Cupelli has been slowly revealing his album, a chord of storytelling laden with mythicism and adventure rings throughout. Striding into the harsher, darker territories of the ambient world, RUINS manages to create its home somewhere been a contemplation of time meeting an ambivalence of the future and a nurturing hope for both the world and the inner soul.
‘IRIS’ reveals a softer side to the album, gently blossoming and drawing the listener into its folds as an elderly woman would do with a young child. The video uses simple imagery of dried flowers, with elements of colour tastefully included to highlight the rich textures of nature.
Speaking of the inspiration behind the album, Mattia Cupelli tells us: “RUINS came to life when I decided to finally reinvent and innovate myself. I started to reflect on the meaning of Time, and how this reflects in our lives.
The music reacts to the controversy and contradiction of moving in this and trying to make sense of this dimension. I also find it fascinating to compare this with all humans that reflected are in these themes throughout the centuries. So, I made it through the abstract concept of Art, and with ancient stories from classic mythology.”
Peter Wise is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer based out of Brooklyn, New York. His sound marries introspective lyricism with bluesy guitar lines, laid-back rhythms, catchy hooks, and soulful vocals. Wise has had the pleasure of collaborating with a wide range of artists, from The Eagles and Lisa Fischer to Liza Anne and Joey Dosik (Vulfpeck).
After touring all over the country in 2019, Wise spent 2020 self-producing a six-song EP, Too Blind To Hear. The lead singles “Fruits” and “Towering Over Me” immediately garnered traction on Spotify in hundreds of playlists, and close to a hundred thousand streams.
His latest single “Neutral” takes inspiration from the film The Spectacular Now. Struck by a particular scene, Wise recalls, “There’s a line in the movie where a man tells Miles Teller’s character that he thought a past relationship would yank him out of neutral.”
The line sparked a notion that a person or a relationship can push you forward or get you out of a rut, with Wise continuing, “We’ve all had people or experiences in our lives that have this dramatic ability to shift our course for the better, and I wrote this song to focus around that concept.”
Written in spurts over six years, across different cities, Wise shows how the development of varying locations and situations had a huge impact on the song, reflecting in the lyrics such as, ‘woke up in Los Angeles,’ to ‘New Years down in Rio’ and ‘made a home in Brooklyn.’
“Neutral” carries a distinctive groove, with subtle electro pulses across the bassy keys, while the tight, rocky drums and grainy guitar gives a kick of vitality to the track.
The sharp, “slap out of it” vibe of being in a neutral or a stationary phase comes through in the upbeat, warm, vibrant feeling, making you feel alive and able to leave behind a stagnant period of your life. The soulful backing vocals reinforce a swarm of powerful energy, mirroring the power of a person’s ability to move you.
Wise has been working on more pop-driven material for 2021, prepping releases for the summer and fall, with subsequent tour dates when he’s able to travel.
Well-known electronic artist Axel Thesleff has teamed up with ShiShi to release the reworked single, ‘Sajani 2.0 (feat. Ben Parag)’ on the 9th of July via CASHIR. Axel Thesleff gained notoriety when he released the irresistible single, ‘Bad Karma’ which racked up one billion plays across platforms and featured on the Adidas’ Faster Than campaign.
The producer toured with legendary artists such as CloZee and Beats Antique, and performed at festivals with other well-known acts such as Deadmau5, ZEDD, Paul Van Dyk and Alt-J.
Over the years, Axel Thesleff has been supported by the likes of Billboard, YourEDM, CLASH Magazine, EDM.com, EARMILK, Magnetic Magazine, and The Needle Drop, to name a few and received significant support on Youtube channels such as Trap Nation, 8D Tunes, Bass Nation, House Nation and Taz Network, amongst others, as well as continued support from BBC Asian Network’s Yasser.
ShiShi is an artist with Indian heritage who has lived in China, Switzerland and the United States. Most recently, the wanderlust producer has released a multi-genre EP with New York Times investigative journalist Ian Urbina, a musical accompaniment to the book “The Outlaw Ocean,” to raise awareness of unreported crimes overseas.
Axel Thesleff also recently released the album Scenes From The Ocean which was inspired by the book and also involved ShiShi.
Ben Parag was born in New York and currently travels between the Big Apple and India, counting both as his home. The singer was a finalist on the Indian TV series Dil hai Hindustani.
ShiShi tells us about the original creation of the song and its evolution: “Ben, who is an incredibly talented Hindustani classical vocalist, and I worked on the original version of this record at the end of 2020. I was going through heartbreak at the time and wanted to create a record that expressed what I was feeling, accompanied by classic Indian vocals.
Ben absolutely nailed the vocals and then I thought about sending the track to Axel to reimagine it in his own way. What I love about Axel’s music is how emotional it is and how tastefully he showcases Indian elements and motifs. He came back with an absolutely epic version that has a really cinematic feel to it, almost like the score to the final scene of a Bollywood movie.”
Born and based in Helsinki, Finland, Axel Thesleff finds inspiration in the variegated likes of Sigur Ros, Godspeed You! Back Emperor, Aphex Twin, Telefon Tel Aviv, Radiohead, Burial, Gold Panda to name a few, as he creates a sound that traverses musical borders. ‘Sajani 2.0 (feat. Ben Parag)’ calls to mind trendsetting artists such as M.I.A., Fakear and CloZee.
The deep emotion found within the original single is amplified as poetic lyrics are showcased against modern bassline elements and jagged electronic tones provided by Axel Thesleff. Using a classic Hindustani style of singing, Ben Parag brings a refined magic to the sound, calling for the comfort of his missing lover and delicately entwining his voice with ShiShi’s evolving production style and the conversational tone of the organic pan flute.
Axel Thesleff tells us about reworking the single: “I teamed up with ShiShi to take his track Sajani (feat. Ben Parag) to the next level. Ben’s vocal performance is incredible and so powerful in this song, it was a real treat to create harmony underneath his Indian melodic sensibilities. I think the end result is really epic, but it also has that summery groove in the drops that gets your feet moving. It’s a contrasting dialogue between more dramatic parts and lighter, dancier parts.”