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Labyrinth Lounge – Porgy (Rufftone Records Release: 25 August 2017)

Labyrinth Lounge Announces Debut Album ‘Porgy’, Previews ‘Trouble Won’t Last’ Single
New York’s Rufftone Records has announced that they will release the debut album from Labyrinth Lounge, preceded by a preview of the first single ‘Trouble Won’t Last’.

What’s in a name? Sometimes a lot more than you might at first realize. The band’s name suggests a perfect combination of complexity and a chilled vibe, which is exactly the dynamic dichotomy making up both their sound and attitude.

Originally conceived and launched in New York in the late nineties, the collective re-assembled in 2016 to grow anew in the San Francisco Bay Area and are again built from a wonderful blend of soul, pop jazz and the spirit of social activism.

The original band grew from the bass-drums pairing of John Ormondand Jaz Sawyer, best known as the rhythm section for the late great Abbey Lincoln, probably the most outspoken of the jazz divas, who brought a sense of black consciousness and social activism to the jazz world a long time before it became a trend. Taking everything they had soaked up while working with that great lady, the linked up with vocalist Valerie Troutt, keyboardist Emanuel Ruffler and rapper Ambessa ‘the Articulate’ Cantave, resulting in a unique mix of hip hop, rock, neo-soul and spoken word, sampling, beat making and improvisational approaches honed while performing in clubs and lounges in lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey.

Fast-forward to 2016 when the opportunity arose to revisit the project with the original lineup and new direction. In the interim, Valerie Troutthad done more than establish herself as a musical artist in the East Bay area, taking on a highly active role in the cultural and creative community through her work with the Oakland Public Conservatory, the Museum of African Diaspora, Higher Ground Neighborhood Corp. and the Embodiment Project, where she is Music Director.

After a recent performance at Oakland’s Studio Grand, the band locked themselves away in the Bird and Egg Studio, resulting in six brand new tracks for their ‘Porgy’ LP, The lead track ‘Trouble Won’t Last’ is a fantastic balance of classic and exploratory, iconic past sounds and forward moving modernity, a subtle and meaningful fusion of free jazz, pop and urban minimalism, reaching far beyond the cross-genre shot-in-the-dark approach many artists take when navigating such territory.

“Valerie sent me a phone recording of the song, with her doing all the parts with her voice. I took it apart and added a few harmonic twists to it, but left the feel and tempo unchanged. The song deals with the division of the spiritual and material life… And how we often have to make an effort to not be limited or controlled by our material environment,” explains Emanuel Ruffler.

But Labyrinth Lounge is certainly a team effort and it is the varied and diverse journeys – musical, physical and spiritual – the players have been on that bring the various elements and textures together.

Valerie Troutt is a music collagist, borrowing from ancestral centuries of sound, channeling spirits, and delivering the stories of our love, loss, and lives, a musical shaman and hungry to communicate with people. Jaz Sawyer, also originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, has toured with everyone from George Benson to Santana to The Grateful Dead before working with Abbey Lincoln on this particular path.

German born Emanuel Ruffler visited New York in 1992 and was immediately struck by the breath-taking artistic level and creative environment, so moved there to study with legendary pianists such as Jaki Byard, John Hicks and Mulgrew Miller a few years later. After taking grand prize in the Thelonious Monk Competition, he has achieved songwriting credit on Me’shell Ndegocello’s ‘Aquarium’ and also collaborated with world-famous designer Emanuel Ungaro, which ultimately led to Ruffler soundtracking an ad for an Ungaro-produced perfume.

Jaz Sawyer also comes with a colorful pedigree, beginning drums at the age of two and having played Wynton Marsalis, George Benson, Santana, and The Grateful Dead, among many others.

“Trouble Won’t Last” Is a funky soulful laid-back approach to Trump’s America. It’s what our grandmothers said when life gave them lemons. It’s a reminder to keep pushing against all odds until you see the outcome you desire,” says Valerie Troutt.

The accompanying video was produced by Townfuturist Media and directed by Korise Jubert. It features members of Mooncandy LiveHouse Ensemble and Labyrinth Lounge.

Rufftone Records is a fast growing label located in New York City with a focus on producing genre-defying music. The latest releases include the piano-drum duo “Painting”, as well as jazz-core group “A Tree Grows” featuring two-time Grammy award winner Tivon Pennicott.

‘Porgy’ will be released on August 25 through Rufftone Records. The band is also preparing a string of live performances in LA and the San Francisco Bay Area in the fall of 2017.

THE PLAYERS
Valerie Troutt – vocals
Ambessa ‘the Articulate’ Cantave – rap vocals
Emanuel Ruffler – keyboards
John Ormond – bass
Jaz Sawyer – drums
Maya Kronfeld – piano on “Storytime”

Recorded by Nino Moschella at Bird and Egg Studio in Richmond, CA
Mixed by Rashaan Carter and Emanuel Ruffler at Rufftone Studios
Mastered by Kevin Blackle
Cover Art: “I See Black People” by Valerie Brown-Troutt

TRACKLIST

1. Trouble Won’t Last
2. It’s Just Water
3. I Loves You Porgy
4.  We Be Rockin’
5.  Story time
6.  Displacement

Keep up with Labyrinth Lounge / Rufftone Records
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Posted by on July 29, 2017 in Dance, Jazz

 

New Zero God/Nexus/Flowers Of Romance (Μια Συζήτηση Με Τον Μιχάλη Πούγουνα)

This interview is in Greek and it took place on 23/06/2017. It was originally posted by the blog Ελευθερία ή Τίποτα

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2017 in Interviews

 

New Zero God – Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac (22 MAY 2017)

After their third album, “Short Tales & Tall Shadows” and 7” single “Redemption”, both released last year, New Zero God return with a digital single titled “Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac“.

In 2006, Mike Pougounas, the singer of the bands The Flowers of Romance and Nexus, formed his current band, New Zero God in Athens, Greece.  They have releases through Greek and English record labels and, in the past, worked on a charity song with international musicians such as guitarist Will Crewdson (Αdam Ant, Johnette Napolitano, The Selecter, Rachel Stamp and others), singer/bass player Chris Tuke (Berlin Black, Screaming Banshee Aircrew), keyboard player Martin Birke (Genre Peak) to name but a few.

According to English music magazine Terrorizer New Zero God’s biography reads like the name-droppers guide to goth. The band’s pedigree is connected to legendary names such as The Mission and The Sisters Of Mercy, and in their present guise they have already scored support slots with Christian Death and The Legendary Pink Dots…”

The band’s intentions on “Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac” are crystal clear. New Zero God winks to punk rock as happened on the first album of the band, “Fun Is A Four Letter Word” but also flirt with industrial (a genre known to Pougounas from his days with Nexus).

This is what New Zero God like to label as “dark rock’n’roll”.

Last October, Pougounas stated on his interview for English magazine Louder Than War, that “Punk Rock was the main influence in my life. Not just musically but it made me think out of the box. When I was a kid it started with the music. But then, I found my own way of thinking. I believe this is what it was all about.”

“Under the Influence of Captain Pan Ikatac” begins the odyssey by twisting the not-so-obvious ‘Panic Attack’ in its title. Lyrically there is a strong dose of humor with “Hell Bet on Me to Lose”, a song about decisions that we are forced to make. “Under the Radar” is about those who decide to live out of the system while “Shadow of Wealth” wonders if resistance is in vain…

The EP is produced by Babis Efthimiou, mastered by John Psimopoulos. while the remix of “Shadow of Wealth” was taken care of by the Greek electronica band Dark En Ciel.

Music and lyrics by Mike Pougounas.

Mike Pougounas – Vocals, Keyboards, Tambourine

Babis Efthimou – Drums, Programming

Akis Nikolaidis – Guitars

Michalis Semertzoglou – Bass, Guitars

 

Keep up with New Zero God

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Tombstones In Their Eyes – Fear EP (Send Me Your Head Records – 4 August 2017)

Tombstones In Their Eyes Preview ‘Always There’ Single from ‘Fear’ EP

Los Angeles’ rock outfit Tombstones in Their Eyes have announced their forthcoming ‘Fear’ EP, to be released via Send Me Your Head Records. To wet your appetite, the band presents the first single, with accompanying video, for ‘Always There’.

With this five-track release, the four-piece manage to embrace a wide range of influences, from the stoner rock of Kyuss to the warped neo- psychedelia of the likes of Spacemen 3 to the cavernous and doom-laden sounds of Electric Wizard and beyond.

Tombstones In Their Eyes’ currently line-up is John Treanor (guitar, vocals, keyboards, songwriter), Josh Drew (guitar, backing vocals), Mike Mason (bass, guitar) and Stephen Striegel (drums). Their musical influences include The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Elliott Smith and The Melvins.

Recorded at L.A.’s Kitten Robot Studio with Paul Roessler (Nina Hagen, The Deadbeats, The Screamers, 45 Grave), this EP follows up their huge sounding ‘Bad Clouds’ EP (2016) and debut album ‘Sleep Forever’ (2014). “Paul knows exactly where I’m coming from and intuitively knows how to make what I’m feeling come through the speakers,” says John Treanor.

The band began life as a demo swapping exercise between John Treanor in L.A. and his childhood friend James Cooper, now in New York, but soon coalesced into a full fledged band. But collectives are always more than what you see on the surface. In John’s case, writing and performing songs is also a way of dealing with severe anxiety and depression, a way of talking about the subject without being the centre of the conversation, and a way of being subliminal rather than direct.

While such a starting point could easily see the music devolve into melancholy and self-absorption, here Tombstones in Their Eyes instead manage to move beyond that place and create music laced with celestial grandeur and a fuzzed out psychedelic majesty that looks out into the universe just as much as it looks inward toward the soul.

This music is also designed to connect rather than be insular. As Treanor says, “Everybody goes through hard periods in their life, and I hope that these songs make them feel less alone.”

Tombstones create walls of sound, which are simultaneously sonorous and hazy. These are cavernous, stoner lullabies that descend into post-rock soundscapes and are wrapped in dark shoegazing dreamscapes.

The cover design, created by well known psychedelic artist Darren Grealish, brings just the right image to such a mercurial collection.

TRACK LIST

1. I Want To Fly
2. Separate
3 Always There
4. Another Day
5. Fear

 

Keep up with Tombstones In Their Eyes

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Posted by on June 11, 2017 in Alternative, Psychedelic

 

LUCKYandLOVE – Lucky + Love LP (SRD Music 30 June 2017)

L.A.’s Synth-sexy LUCKYandLOVE Announce Debut LP, Preview Single ‘Digging in the Earth’ 

photo designed by Loren Luck

Los Angeles-based duo LUCKYandLOVE have announced they will release their debut album ‘Lucky + Love’ on June 30. The lead single is ‘Digging in the Earth’, the video for which was directed and edited by cinemaphotographer and animator Steve Barron.
These 8 electrified tracks were written when bandmates Loren Luck (drums, synths) and April Love (vocals, keyboards, guitar) were living next to a noisy construction site in Glendale, California. Here they successfully incorporate synth-heavy bass with polyphonic harmonies and crystalline vocals, propelling the music into trance-inducing territory.

Inspired by artists such as New Order, OMD, Depeche Mode, Washed Out, Tycho, PJ Harvey and Cocteau Twins, their sound falls beautifully into an everyman’s land between electro rock, dream pop, electronica and synth gaze. Justifiably also described as electrowave or indietronica, this music has, in the words of Loren Luck, “lots of LFO, riveting arpeggiations, simultaneous solos via spacey square waves, with April’s smoky vocals”.

This record is an electronic music record, but comes from a more traditional place, where OMD or Kraftwork came from – one of an unsampled, unprogrammed live recording originally at 192kHz/24-bit quality.

“Musically, as much attention was paid sonically to the organic moog instruments as April’s voice, and we offered the analog synths space in the songs to breathe to their true dynamic potential,” says Loren Luck.

This album came to light through recordings at Eagle Rock’s Cave Studio with Josiah Mazzaschi (Light FM), sessions with sound editor Morgen Stary, and Comp-ny Studio with Grammy winner Be Hussey (Guides). The vinyl release was mastered by Kevin Gray, who most recently engineered the reissue of Vangelis’s Blade Runner.

“My hope is that inviting this record into their life gives listeners some strange rose colored glasses to hear through. The lyrics touch many facets of an abstract philosophy of life – from a spark of physical chemistry between two people in a physical room (Sexy) to the intergalactic forces that spark subtle changes in our entire existence (Taureon), to the gratitude of an unobstructed blue sky (Legal Love), and disdain for a future that pulls us further away from each other (Mars),” explains April Love.

Originally from Silver Lake, California, the band formed in 2014, their name inspired by The Good Luck bar where the two had met in 2006. Several mai tai’s later, Loren started a music label and began playing drums for April’s original band. The two later rented out a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, built a personal skate ramp, screen printed glow-in-the-dark wedding posters, and launched www.luckyandlove.com. Graphic designers by day, they decided to trade in ball-and-chain laptops forever in favor of playing dirty lo-fi electronica.

LUCKYandLOVE currently write and record in their music studio in Echo Park, California. The band is looking forward to recording new tracks with producer John Fryer (This Mortal Coil, Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins, Love and Rockets, His Name is Alive) with plans to drop more singles later in 2017.

Slated for release on June 30, 2017 and with support globally from Southern Record Distributors, this album is being issued digitally and on vinyl, to be available from a record store near you.
TRACKLIST
1  Sexy
2  Venus
3  Mars
4  You’ll Never Know
5  Digging In The Earth
6  Legal Love
7  Taureon
8  Full Moon

Keep up with LUCKYandLOVE
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Posted by on May 28, 2017 in New Wave / Dark Wave

 

The Stevenson Ranch Davidians – Amerikana (Picture In My Ear Records – 9 June 2017)

Psychedelic rock/folk/Americana stalwarts The Stevenson Ranch Davidians Present ‘Holy Life’ from Coming ‘Amerikana’ Album

The Stevenson Ranch Davidians have announced they will release their new album ‘Amerikana’ in June, but are teasing what’s to come with the lead single ‘Holy Life’ and accompanying video. This is The Davidians’ first album since 2009, scheduled for release in June 2017 on Minneapolis-based Picture In My Ear Records.
Steeped in the aura of the perennially mythologized psychedelic culture of Southern California and making music influenced by the enduring essence of ‘60s psych, folk and soul, woven with strands of early American roots music, The Stevenson Ranch Davidians has, since 2006, revealed itself in shifting configurations.

While the lineup has continually coalesced around lead singer and songwriter Dwayne Seagraves, the collective has always had a guiding vision and goal: to create music that seeks to simultaneously demystify and deify the human experience.

‘Amerikana’ represents a new direction for the band, where the dreamy, flowing sound of albums past is infused with a fresh sense of inspiration, energy and purpose. This is an eclectic, yet cohesive, set of songs that glorify the human spirit while condemning those who seek to destroy it.

Seagraves states that Amerikana also celebrates what he views as true magic: human will put to action. Through his songs, he hopes to convey the sense that human beings have been the sole source of all great insights and achievements throughout history, and that power originates from within individuals rather than from gods, governments or other external sources.

“Holy Life is basically a deification of the Human Spirit,” says Dwayne Seagraves. “I view the record and every song on it as a celebration of the human spirit as well as a condemnation of those who seek to destroy it. What inspired it was a period of time in which I was exposed to those who seek to destroy it and the record was written as a direct counter balance to that.”

The band’s new lineup brings a range of talent, experience and inspiration to The Stevenson Ranch Davidians’ sound. In addition to longtime Davidians’ bassist Jessica Latiolait, guitarist Rob Campanella is a member of The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Quarter After, while his brother – drummer and backing vocalist Andy Campanella – is a veteran of Occult Wisdom, Imogene and Chief Nowhere. Guitarist Misha Bullock, the sole Englishman in the fold, formerly played with Tennis System.

The Stevenson Ranch Davidians “Amerikana” LP will be available on Classic Black 150G Vinyl with Lyric Inner Sleeve, but is already available for pre-order on Picture in My Ear Records ‘ Bandcamp at https://pictureinmyearrecords.bandcamp.com/album/amerikana

On May 4, The Stevenson Ranch Davidians will be headlining Lolipop Records‘ event at Harvard & Stone in Hollywood (5221 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, California).

CREDITS
Written, performed and produced by Dwayne Seagraves
Mixed by Bryan Showalter
Mastered by Isaac Betesh
Video created by Jacob Kedzierski

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Posted by on May 4, 2017 in Alternative, Psychedelic

 

New Zero God, Rumors, and Nochnoy Dozor – Live @ Embros Theatre, 5 May

On Friday 5 May, a rock concert will take place at Embros Self-Managed Theatre (Riga Palamidi 2, Psirri, Athens – Greece) with free entrance.
These three bands are: New Zero God, Rumors, and Nochnoy Dozor.


New Zero God was formed in 2006 in Athens by Mike Pougounas, former singer of the Greek band The Flowers of Romance.

From the onset, they seamlessly mixed punk rock, post punk, and goth which carried over onto their debut album “Fun Is A Four Letter Word” eventually ending up in the top ten of Terrorizer Magazine [UK] for two months in 2011.

Their mini album “Club Bizarre” followed, released by UK label Secret Sin Records and on January 2013 the same label put out New Zero God’s album “MMXIII”.

The band returned in 2016 with the album “Short Tales & Tall Shadows”, listed by many international media as one of the best releases for 2016.

Other New Zero God releases included two 7” singles “Destination Unknown / Forever Today” (Surgut Resort Records – 2013) and the split single “Redemption / Madhouse Magical” (New Savage Records UK – 2016), which shared sides with Scottish band Savage Cut on the other side.

On the band’s Bandcamp page one can download for free the mini album “Zona Pericolosa” recorded live in Italy.

The band also released two charity digital singles. The track “The Night Calls Your Name” with all artist proceeds going directly to the UK’s “Sophie Lancaster Foundation”, which deals with hate crimes. The track “Second Chance” has all artist proceeds going directly to the U.S. foundation HAWC, which provides aid to those suffering from domestic and child abuse.

In 2014, New Zero God brought together five Greek bands, putting together a festival to raise money for medicines to the Hellinikon Medical Center.

The band will perform with the following line up:
Mike Pougounas – Vocals
Akis Nikolaidis – Guitar
John Psimopoulos – Drums
Mike Semertzoglou – Bass

Keep up with New Zero God
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Five piece Alternative Post Rock band Rumors formed in Athens in 2009.
They split up three years ago but now they are back with gigs around Greece.

Their new EP is titled “Time of the Cherries” and will be available at Embros Theatre on 5th of May.

 

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Nochnoy Dozor was formed on December 2015.
They are a five piece Athenian band which puts together different music influences creating an atmospheric sound on rock music forms.

Although the band members are also playing with other bands (Universe217, Mapplerun, Blame Canada, One Man Drop) the idea of Nochnoy Dozor’s project is different.

The band is now on their first recording steps while playing live in Athens.

Keep up with Nochnoy Dozor
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