The Skains performing live at Soma in San Diego, CA
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The Skains– “Today”
The Skains are a super ambitious band from Mission Beach, CA that have crafted a reggae/ska sound that makes them seem wise beyond their years. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention these kids are only 15-18 years old. It’s truly impressive how well these kids have honed their act at such a young age, but they all know how to play their instruments, and they play together damn well. Be sure to check them out at West Hollywood’s Whiskey A Go-Go on Saturday June, 4th.
VETIVER return in late Spring with their fifth album, “The Errant Charm”, released 13th June on Bella Union records…
“The Errant Charm” is a superb soundtrack for an afternoon idyll. Vetiver bandleader Andy Cabic spent hours wandering the streets around San Francisco’s Richmond District, listening to rough mixes, tinkering with lyrics and arrangements. The album opens with “It’s Beyond Me”, a slow boil of acoustic guitar and vintage keyboards over a roomy beat. Here you’ll encounter almost every sonic idea showcased on “The Errant Charm”, the album’s universe distilled into one vibrant song.
As the summery “Can’t You Tell” unfurls, you’ll begin to pinpoint some of the album’s unifying elements, the integration of drum machines and a washed-out, ambient guitar sound, peppered with jangly flourishes. Then there’s “Hard To Break”, the hazy, layered harmonies and sunlight-dappled guitar evoking fond memories of Fleetwood Mac circa 1982’s “Mirage”.
Cabic and producer Thom Monahan have already made four Vetiver records together and know each other’s aesthetics well. It was time to experiment more, which was why Cabic didn’t arrive at Monahan’s Los Angeles studio with many completed songs. Instead, they started with lots of loose ideas and fleshed out the best bits. In some instances, they augmented or edited parts by themselves, and at other junctures they waited until the remaining Vetiver players could convene in one place to contribute. Those full band performances figure prominently in the album’s driving midsection… “Right Away”, “Wonder Why”, “Ride, Ride, Ride”… each of these selections is more propulsive and rocking than the one before it. Certainly that was Cabic’s intention for The Errant Charm, to push the dynamic range of Vetiver to previously unheard extremes.
The Errant Charm… Errant as in wayward, elusive. Wandering but not lost. Within that wandering, all manner of treasures waiting to be uncovered, and new ones that surface with each listen.
Founded in 2000 in Johannesburg, the indie rock act BLK JKS is comprised of guitarists Lindani Buthelezi and Mpumi Mcata, who grew up together in Joburg’s East Rand, and Soweto natives Molefi Makananise (bass) and Tshepang Ramoba (drums). BLK JKS made their international recording debut in 2007 with a self-released limited-edition 10″ vinyl release of the single “Lakeside”. In 2008 BLK JKS were offered a recording contract with Secretly Canadian during a DJ tour. Since then they’ve played at festivals throughout South Africa, Europe and the US. Check out their video of Summertime.
By: Elizabeth Stene | Beat-Play Ambassador South Africa | @LizMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC
Bateleur are a 6-piece instrumental band from Cape Town. They’re different than most instrumental bands because they have piano and trumpet, along with the typical guitar, bass, and drums. The best thing about them is their really interesting song composition style, which sets them apart. From a Mahala review of their live show, “There is something deeply exciting about Bateluer at first, genuine music nerds closing their eyes, feeling the music and punching out solid technically challenging music…” This gives the listener an idea of the vibe at a performance by by this up and coming South African band. Download their mountain 3 track for free, and check out the video of their track Thanks, India.
Wet Years’ music is a beautiful mix of ambient, blues, and experimental sounds that come together to form a very soothing and airy vibe. Timing changes, vocal effects, drawn-out guitars…they got it all. If you are lucky enough to attend one of their shows, be sure to pick up a complimentary cassette tape of their EP. Yes, people still have cassette decks.
Gavin Glass is a multi-instrumentalist/singer-songwriter from Stillorgan, Dublin, Ireland.
His first album “I’d like the world to teach me to sing” 2004 was a lo-fi home recording which saw the musician trying to find his feet as a solo artist.
Prior to this, Gavin, had played guitar with various unsuccessful Dublin rock bands.
Having returned from Germany after his band Gramophone’s label went bust (weeks before the album’s scheduled release), Glass began writing and recording songs at his home studio in the sleepy suburbs of Killiney in Dublin.
The album showed promise but it wasn’t until his second release “Gavin Glass & The Holy Shakers” (2007) that Glass began to find his own voice.
The “Shakers” record had an unashamed old-school feel and was steeped in traditional country, soul & gospel flavours all augmented by Glass melodic sensibilities and delivered by a very seasoned band of accomplished musicians.
The album was critically acclaimed by the Irish press and provided Glass with a strong late night radio following along with some very high profile fans such as Clarence Clemons of the E-Street Band & Garth Hudson of Glass’s musical heroes, “the Band”.
In 2008 Glass joined Lisa Hannigan’s band as a multi-instrumentalist and spend most of 2008 & 2009 touring North America & the UK.
It was after Hannigan’s performance at SXSW 2008 that Glass headed to Nashville to record his third album “Myna Birds” which was released last May, 2010.
An introduction to Steve Gorman of the Black Crowes after a show in Boston led to an invitation to record in Nashville. Gorman made some calls and put together an all-star dream band that featured a rather impressive array of fine luminaries: Audley Freed (Black Crowes, Train, Dixie Chicks), Ken Coomer (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo) and Jen Gunderman (Jayhawks).
Gavin set-up camp in Nashville’s Eastwood Studios and recorded the album on the endangered format of analogue tape over an intensive two-weeks in March of last year.
The album was then completed with the help of friends back in Dublin in between Hannigan’s hectic touring schedule.
Glass continues to run his own studio and in 2010 produced albums by Our Little Secrets, Gallie, Emma Jane Leeson, Steve Young & The Union.
This video is wild! “Play House” is a futuristic escapade which looks more like a scene from Tron than it does a music video. It’s a funky blend of quick-hitting lyrics and funky synths, guaranteed to keep your head bopping from beginning to end.
Afrobeta is an electro-funk doublet from Miami composed of Tony Smurphio & Cuci Amador. Noticeable for more than his sublime hairdo, Smurphio lays down the thumping beats, synths, and funky finger work on the keys (Smurphio actually served as Pitbull’s traveling keyboardist for a number of years before Afrobeta). Amador, the sexy Cuban, fronts the group and provides the seductive vocals.
Afrobeta was formed “as a means to attain an ultimate form of artistic self-expression,” and you can feel the individual markings of each piece in their music. Their debut album Under the Streets will be released on August 9th of this year.
Having just released their new album No Color in March of this year, it was just a matter of time until we saw The Dodos drop a video for the fan favorite track “Companions”. Such a beautiful acoustic riff to carry throughout this natural driving tune that comes with an added twist, offered in this new music video release. The San Francisco based duo has developed quite a large following throughout their 4 album career. 3 of which, including the more recent No Color, were released with Frenchkiss Records. This is a very exciting group with a bright future ahead as they continue to quickly grow on the west coast. Visit their Facebook for updates on shows and music and be sure to check out their site for their albums. So please enjoy this hipster road-trip set video and prepare for an eye-popping 180° turn of emotion.
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