Tag Archive: Pop


Emily Zuzik
Tender

Visit Emily Zuzik at Facebook and iTunes

Emily Zuzik first appeared on HorizonVU’s pages in 2011. We’ve been privileged to follow her work since then – The Wild Joys of Living (2011), Detours (2014) and Angelenos (2016). She consistently shows her willingness to cut across all kinds of music including folk, pop, electronica and pop-rock. Amongst her many projects she has collaborated with notables including Moby (Destroyed, 2011) and Tim Lefebvre (Angelenos, 2016).

Emily’s most recent release, “Tender” is a three track collaboration with Geoff Pearlman (recognized composer, singer, guitarist, producer and engineer). The title track is a soulful song, which is on the lighter, pop side of soul. The vocal works well in the mix from Geoff Pearlman (lead guitars, bass, autoharp), Michael Blumstein (keys), Alex Budman (horns) and George Sluppick (drums). The second track, “Ernst Kirchner” (German expressionist painter and printmaker known to be motivated by fears about humanity’s place in the modern world, its lost feelings of spirituality and authenticity) draws somewhat on sensual Teutonism for the vocal, but the blend of Zuzik’s vocals with Gerald Menke’s pedal steel and Tim Lefebvre’s bass gives the song it’s own place. The final song, “Winter In California” is up tempo contemporary country pop-rock, which will likely get you tapping your feet. “Tender” offers three very different recordings each of which is exceptionally performed. In addition to the recorded performances, clearly, Pearlman deserves a thumbs up for mixing and mastering. In part because of its diversity, this is a recording that you can shuffle the tracks on repeat and stay well-connected. Enjoy!


Shout Out Louds
Ease My Mind
Merge

Visit Shout Out Louds at Facebook and iTunes

The Swedish band, Shout Out Louds, is back! Adam Olenius, Bebban Stenborg, Ted Malmros, Carl von Arbin, and Eric Edman have released “Ease My Mind”, a stellar contribution of dream pop. The opening track, “Jumbo Jet” makes puchasing the album worth your while. The song was motivated by Olenius’ fear of flying gives some special understanding of the composition and lyrics. If you’re in the market for some nostalgic, shoegaze, indie pop, ” “Ease My Mind” is for you.


Midnight Sister
Saturn Over Sunset
Jagjaguwar

Visit Midnight Sister at Facebook and iTunes

This genre-defying debut release from duo Juliana Giraffe and Ari Balouzian, “Midnight Sister” (co-produced by Alex Izenberg), conjures up a gripping music buffet of pop; groove; Southern European yé-yé à la manière de Serge Gainsbourg; Beatles-esque, Moody Blues-y, Bowie-Visconti “Space Oddity”(get the idea?) Mellotron-fuelled wafts; woodwinds and strings that are sure to play on your psyche. It’s been said that the album is Hollywood cinematic, which is true, but moreover, it is an mature standout in the line of new releases this year offering the listener a journey, which might feel uncomfortable or weird at times, but it’s worth the ride. You’ll surely be swept off your feet by “Blue Cigar”. The instrumental “The View from Gilligan’s Island” has elements of Baroque pop and with “Showgirl” you’re likely fall into that heightened, magical world of the musical production. By the time you reach the final track don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve been immersed in a Lynchian surreal exposé where the familiar seeems strange – “Mulholland Drive” or “Twin Peaks” Bang Bang Bar – but you’re alright and with “Their Eyes” Giraffe’s mesmeric vocal will leave you feeling that the journey has ended happily and the end credits are rolling.


HVUM: LOCK is Gita Langley Harcourt (vocals, guitar, synths), Edie Langley (vocals, guitar) and Gabi Woo (drums). HorizonVU Music has been following LOCK for many months now having first came upon the music, while through videos on YouTube and our team has been hooked on LOCK’s dreamy and ethereal sounds ever since. The compositions are impressive, and the lyrics darkly romantic. Certainly, there are elements of pop, pop-rock, grunge and shoegaze, but it’s probably best not to pigeonhole the group’s music, but rather take in the sensual and unerring realization of music emanating from dazzling vocals and instrumentation. LOCK has certainly received critical praise, but deserves to be far more out front and center.

It’s a real pleasure for HorizonVU Music to have the chance to connect with you for a visit. Let’s talk a bit about your background, what’s been going on with Lock and talk a bit about the future.

We’ve done our homework reading your profile and interviews that you have done. We understand that you are London-based and that, Gita and Edie, you come from quite the musical family.

We have a following of young female emerging musicians and they like to hear about success stories. Can you tell us how your story evolved? What drove you towards the joint project, Lock? How did you meet up with Gabi?

GITA- Edie and I have played in bands together before and we’ve sung together and played along side our siblings since were were really little. A few years ago I was getting more into production and we were both wanting to start a new project that was a little darker, more cinematic with electronic elements but still using live instruments. Our sound is constantly evolving because we are inspired by new music, films and books that we are obsessed with. We were on the hunt for a badass drummer to join our band and a friend hooked us up a meet with Gabi.

EDIE -Gabi just fit perfectly, and she leaves our tummies ripped from laughing.

HVUM: Just an observation, Gita and Edie, I think it’s fair to say that you project different personalities? Is that a reasonable perception? Intentional? How do you connect with one another on and off-stage?

GITA-Yes, Edie’s the baby of the family – out of 8 kids… that’s gotta count for some personality traits ha. I’m in the middle, poor me…. yeh, well I guess we do project different personalities on stage.. And I think it’s cool that way. I feel like behind my synths i can shut my eyes and be the introvert in a way…. Edie has more badass in her blood…. Edie?

EDIE-I think we are both much for confident on stage than we are if you came up to us in the street. At school everyone thought that the Langley girls had a constant resting bitch face so I’ve spent years perfecting a daily happy smile so people don’t hate me when they first meet me. I guess we are kind of different too but we are the most similar out of all of our siblings and we usually turn up to band practice in the same outfit so…great minds…

HVUM: When you look back from where you are today were there any real unexpected challenges along the way? How did you or how do you get over the bumps?

GITA-Unexpected challenges… Yes definitely. I’ve suffered from chronic nerves in the past….when I was studying violin at The Royal Academy Of Music I felt like my world was going to end. It was quite competitive and I don’t think my soul could really handle that sort of an environment. When I left and I began writing and performing my own music I feel like I found my feet and a weight lifted in me.

EDIE- I was never ever nervous about being on stage before being in LOCK. I could sing on any stage in front of anyone and I would just thrive off the buzz, but now I have serious butterflies and panic before most gigs. I think it’s because I really care about this and don’t want anything to go wrong. We’ve had a few gigs that have had horrific sound in the monitors and we haven’t been able to hear a thing so I dread that happening again, but we dealt with it and it makes us more aware of what we need to hear/change.

GABI: I also suffered so badly from nerves. Growing up I was so quiet…. Like Edie and Gita, I studied music from an early age and for most of my childhood I was at home practising piano or flute. There was such a pressure to pass all the grades and that made me even more nervous. I always knew I wanted to do something in music but to be able to do it I needed to find another instrument… something that I guess I wasn’t expected to be good at. I spent years going down the classical route so the only way out of it was to learn the drums. When I play the piano (the instrument I am best at and even teach), I fall to pieces, but when I drum its as if I become possessed and for that 30 mins on stage I turn into an animal.

HVUM: Oh yeah, animal is good! The music market is pretty crowded, especially the market for popular music. What do you thing really gives your work the force of music personality?

GITA- We like to think what we are doing is pretty unique. I wouldn’t say we exactly sound like anyone else at the moment. I think we come from a genuine place and it’s honest so hopefully people will connect with it.

EDIE- Yeah we do what we do and just hope people love it as much as we do. And if they don’t then fuck it.

HVUM: One thing that we’ve noted is that your music can handle diversity, always staying to gripping harmonies whether you’re performing acoustic or electro. How do you see your music as far as cross-genre versatility is concerned?

GITA-Yeah, we love the harmonies.. I think it stems from our classical days – it’s just so damn pleasing!! I think, being sisters, our voices – even though they are quite different – have a familiar tone.

EDIE- I’d say we are pop with some indie/grunge and some Andrew sisters thrown in.

GITA -Are we radio 1 or radio 2? We don’t know… It’s a mind fuck really so we will just carry on making the music we want to make and see how it all pans out.

HVUM: Excuse me a second…For readers who aren’t familiar with the Andrews Sisters, breakout those 78s in your grandparents collection and groove on some great swing and boogie-woogie. Okay, back to LOCK, let’s take a look and listen to how well you can mix it up with «New York vs Paris”. Let’s have a look and listen.

HVUM: What’s the story behind “New York vs Paris”?

GITA- New York Vs Paris is really just a daydream… imagining yourself far away… choosing between two amazing, vibrant and romantic cities. It’s loneliness and heartache all wrapped up in a snow globe.

HVUM: Okay. Just for fun, as far as LOCK is concerned, what is the funniest thing that has happened to you lately? Really funny!

EDIE- Gabi’s face when we busted her sending tit pics

HVUM: Finally, if you had to describe LOCK as an animal, what would it be?

EDIE- We’d be a leopard obviously cause we (i) am obsessed with everything and anything leopard print. And we fierce!!

HVUM: Thanks so very much for taking time to meet with us! Where can we look to see you live? Any new recordings or merchandise coming online?

EDIE- We are headlining a really great night at The Box in Soho on September 28th and we’re supporting the Libertines in Hull and Lowestoft for part of their seaside tour and we literally cannot wait. We’re gunna make the rest of this year ours.

GABI – We are about to film a video for our new song ‘Hey Compadre’, which will be out later on in the year. Stay Tuned!!

HVUM: And that we will! Thanks very much for taking time for us. We thoroughly appreciate the visit and we will be following you on your journey. We wish you total success going forward and…visit us in Paris!
Close (HVUM)

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A must read…Joe Coscarelli, New York Times…
“Rock’s Not Dead, It’s Ruled By Women: The Round-Table Conversation”

“…as we’ve spoken among ourselves about the music that most excites us, we have consistently marveled at how much outstanding rock music is being made by female and non-binary performers who work just below the surface of the mainstream.”

A special multimedia presentation of this story will appear online Tuesday at nytimes.com/music.


Don’t know Tunabunny? The band hails from Athens, Georgia as in the home of the famed 40 Watt Club, The B52’s and R.E.M. Tunabunny founders are Scott Creney and Brigette Herron. Along with Mary Jane Hassell and Jesse Stinnard the band has released their fifth album, “PCP Presents Alice in Wonderland Jr”. The album captured us. Taken as a whole (twenty-eight tracks) or on a track-by-track basis, the journey is well worthwhile. Fortunately, Tunabunny found time to talk with us. This is a great band having seemingly unbounded creativity accompanied by a welcome sense of humor!

HVUM: Thanks so much for taking time to talk to us! We’ve read a bit about the background of the band and it sounds like a good story, so tell us how Tunabunny happened and how you came up with the band’s name!

TB: Just some friends getting together to make some noise. None of us were proficient on our instruments, or had ever played in a band before. Scott and Brigette had moved in together and their house, in addition to kind of falling apart, had a lot of space. Her dad played music and brought over a bunch of stuff for them to play around with.

After a couple of months of this, songs started to emerge out of the ether and we began to dream of maybe one day playing a show. The original idea was to have a different name every time we played, but Scott saw a sign on a rural highway that said BUNNYTUNA. We flipped it around because it sounded better and all our friends just kept calling us Tunabunny. Some people hate it, but we think it sounds kind of cute and kind of disturbing, which makes it perfect. Anyway, it’s a better band name than Def Leppard. Or Ed Sheeran.

HVUM: Many of our followers are D.Y.I. musicians, so they are always interested in knowing if band members have formal musical backgrounds or if they are self-taught.

TB: Entirely self-taught. We were totally inspired by all that Raincoats, Kleenex, early Slits stuff. Plus Velvet Undeground, and The Shaggs, and Pere Ubu, and The Clean. All those bands showed what you could do with a couple of chords and a lot of imagination. More locally, bands like Pylon and The B-52’s made us thing you could be weirdo art kids with more inspiration than chops and have fun playing music.

HVUM: Fantastic! We’re absolutely into The Slits (Cut), The Raincoats, Kleenex/Liliput…Knocking on to the last question, we’d like to know how you found your HHBTM or was it that HHBTM found Tunabunny?

TB: After a couple of shows, word got around town that there was this band called Tunabunny that was a cool fucking mess and someone told Mike (owner/ceo/whatever of HHBTM) that he needed to check it out. It took him a couple of tries because he kept showing up after we’d already finished playing (we pride ourselves on punctuality—plus the sooner the show’s over the sooner you can relax and party). Anyway, he signed us right there on the spot. Said he’d never make us stars but he’d let us record whatever we wanted, which is all we could’ve asked for. And we kind of got to become stars anyway—distant stars that you can only see when the planets and atmosphere are properly aligned, but still stars nonetheless. We’ve certainly gone further than we ever expected or dreamed when we started playing together.

HVUM: Your music covers a very large bandwidth of genres from pop to blazing rock and it seems just to say that much of what you do is experimental. Do you have any influences that motivate you or is it more about an independent convergence of creative minds?

TB: The music usually emerges from us playing in a room. Because we listen to and love all kinds of music—from Abba to Sun Ra, from Swell Maps to The Beatles, we don’t put up boundaries around what we can or can’t play. Someone in the band shouts That’s great! Play that again! And a song comes out of it. Given that we live in an age when we have practically the entire history of recorded music at our fingertips, it seems dishonest for a band in 2017 to sound like they’ve only ever heard one record in their entire collective lives. Maybe that’s a good marketing strategy, but it makes for really boring records. And as a band, the only goal we’ve ever had is to not being boring — to ourselves or to our audience.

HVUM: Your new release “PCP Alice in Wonderland Jr” is our pick out of new releases for 23 June. We had a hard time describing the album in the sense of “pinning it down”. We’d really like to know your thoughts on the twenty-eight track album as far as its being topical or thematic?

TB: It’s a concept album about how great we are (I’m half channeling Noel Gallagher and half serious when I say that). There seems to be a lot of politics on this one, personal and otherwise, and a lot of struggling to keep one’s emotional head above water. I hear a lot of ostracism, a sense of loneliness and loss and isolation in the lyrics, with the music kind of pushing back against that. Like the best music, it’s about dancing on the graves of your problems and fears.

HVUM: Let’s take time out for a look and listen to “Incinerate”, the second track on “PCP Alice in Wonderland”.

HVUM: We first learned about the band with the release of “Genius Fatigue” and we like that album…”Duchess For Nothing” gets put on repeat! Has there been any change in direction between “Genius Fatigue” and the new release?

TB: We recorded Genius Fatigue back when we were touring all the time, so it has that kind of attack you get from standing in front of an audience. Being at home more, you tend to pick up different instruments, play around with drum machines, electronics, recording techniques, etc. Plus, the first two albums were us learning to play. Genius Fatigue (third album) was us kind of mastering the form. The only thing to do at that point was unlearn—switching instruments, switching approaches, etc.

HVUM: If Tunabunny was a book, what would it be and why?

TB: That is such a great question…It’s probably going to take longer to answer than all the others combined. Maybe Guy Debord’s autobiography Panegyric. We’ll defer to the publisher’s description of it as a “tongue-in-cheek autobiography [that] mixes precision and pastiche in a whirlwind account of philosophy, exploit, and inebriation. Plus it was original bound in sandpaper so it would erode the covers of the books next to it and most people haven’t heard of it—just like Tunabunny.

HVUM: Finally, what is on the horizon for Tunabunny? Any tours ahead?

TB: We’ve toured a lot over the years—low-budget shoestring DIY touring, but there’s more obstacles now than there used to be. Brigette’s about a year away from finishing her PhD (if all goes according to plan), and there’s a 3-year-old baby bouncing around, and Mary Jane has a real grown-up job and mortgage. That’s not to say we’ll never tour again, but we’d probably need more money than we did in the past, which would mean we’d need to be more popular, something we have no control over. Most likely we’ll be a cult band that gets criminally ignored during our lifetime only to be besieged with offers 20 years from now when we’re cited as incredibly influential, etc. etc. assuming human life exists 20 years from now in any recognizable form of course.

HVUM: Hey! Thanks a lot for spending time to share your experience and thoughts about Tunabunny. We really hope that you can find the time (and the money) to keep going. Don’t hesitate to call on us if we can lend a hand going forward!


Tunabunny
PCP Presents Alice in Wonderland Jr
HHBTM

Visit Tunabunny at Facebook and iTunes

For those who don’t know Tunabunny, the band hails from Athens, Georgia as in the home of the famed 40 Watt Club, The B52’s and R.E.M. Tunabunny founders are Scott Creney and Brigette Herron. Along with Mary Jane Hassell and Jesse Stinnard the band has released their fifth album, “PCP Presents Alice in Wonderland Jr”. It’s tough getting one’s head around the twenty-eight track album and that’s okay, it’s worth setting aside the 1:14:25 to take the journey. You’ll get pop – “Incinerate” (video below), and trip folk (maybe that’s not the right description, but just think in terms an acid trip experience that’s so weird you can’t describe it) – “Seek Consequence”, and punk rock – “Noise Problems”(track below). It’s recommended that you have listen to the album as a whole, which might leave you feeling a bit dazed, but after letting it all register, you can return to take it in bite-sized pieces. Tunabunny is positively avant garde and “PCP Presents Alice in Wonderland Jr” originally unorthodox.


Hey Violet
From the Outside
Capitol / Virgin EM

Visit Hey Violet at Facebook and iTunes

Hey Violet, the American rock band from Los Angeles, California, is the spin-out from the hard rock band Cherry Bomb (“This Is the End of Control”, 2012). Cherry Bomb changed it’s name and direction in 2015, becoming Hey Violet and moving from hard rock to pop. The band members are Rena Lovelis (lead vocals), Miranda Miller (rhythm guitar, keyboard, vocals), Nia Lovelis (drums, vocals), Casey Moreta (lead guitar, vocals), and Iain Shipp (bass). The album has some catchy hooks that are likely to catch your ear (“Break My Heart”, “Hoodie”), but if its a rougher sound your looking for jump into “Me Breaking Up With You”.


Lexy1Lexy Cassell is a singer/songwriter from Long Island, NY. She mixes pop, rock and punk into her music style. Songs she sings reflect her life philosophy which are to break the norms. Her song Original is about being yourself and is currently played in rotation on several radio stations. It won the people’s choice for most votes in Newsday’s Battle of the Bands contest. Lexy has performed at Jones Beach and local events, fairs, concerts and TV shows. She also enjoys skateboarding and is a sponsored skateboarder, team rider and model for sPACYcLOUd and Skate Girls Tribe. She visits high schools as a teen mentor and has spoken at school assemblies for anti-bullying awareness.

HVUM: How do you describe yourself? What are your key strengths, and generally, where might you like to improve personally?

LC: I’d describe myself as a hard working and resilient. I’ve broken 4 bones skateboarding and I don’t give up easily, I love a challenge. I also enjoy being able to entertain people. I’m always working on improving myself and moving forward, whether it’s olling a 4 step on my board or a new song on the piano. If it’s nice outside I can forget the time and skate all day so trying to manage my time can be hard if I have a few things going on in one day.

HVUM How do you view your family in relation to your wanting a career in music?

LC: Without the support from my family this wouldn’t be possible. My parents drive me to events, coordinate my schedule and pay for Lexy2expenses. They also let the band practice in my basement.

HVUM: Tell us about your background and development in music. When and why did you start playing music? Did you have any formal training?

LC: When I was around 8 I would go into my room and dance around, make music videos and post them on You Tube. When my mother found out I was doing it I thought I might be in trouble but she watched the videos and liked them. She told me she would get me singing lessons if that’s what I wanted to do and she also enrolled me in a local music school.

HVUM: Are there any particular musicians or bands that have influenced you?

LC: Yes, when I was 8 I saw Lady Gaga perform a News Eve show in Miami. I watched her from the hotel balcony and it was that moment I knew I wanted to have a career in music. There are so many artists I enjoy. I love Avril, Britney Alanis, Pink, Gwen Stefani, Evanescence and Paramore just to name a few.

HVUM: Do you think being a female in a rock band is any different than being male? If you think that there are differences, what are they?

Lexy4LC: I don’t look at it that way. I like to be known as myself. Just like when I skateboard I don’t like people to say I’m a good skateboarder for a girl. I’d like to be known as a good skater period. Most of the contest I skate at I’m usually the only girl so I’m use to competing with the guys.

HVUM: When it comes to building your individual brand as an artist or as a band how do you set your objectives and priorities? What are the toughest objectives to achieve?

LC: Part of building my brand is being true to who I am. So it’s pretty easy. I basically just do random Lexy stuff. I believe it’s me just being me. I enjoy making videos goofing around and letting people just get to know me as a person and see who I am, I do what I like and that’s how I feel I can really connect.

HVUM: Thinking about the key elements for your success how you rank Talent, Team support, Technology, Networks and markets, financial support.

LC: Talent is number one and number two is having committed people supporting you. The rest are all equally important.

HVUM: Given that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…) are so important how do you deal with the demands of networking online? What do you consider to be the pros and cons of social media as a means for driving success?

LC: I love to use social media as a tool to network.. I recently started going LIVE on Face book *Lexy Cassell and Instagram *Lexyy Cassell. I don’t see too many downfalls so far social media has been very helpful for me. I can book shows and share information and make new friends.
Lexy5
HVUM: Are you ever concerned about your public image or do you expect people to accept you as you are and forget about changing to meet public approval?

LC: Something that’s important to me is to be who you are. I’m happy with being myself. I’m not perfect and I don’t feel pressure to be that way because I try to keep it real. Part of being a skater means my sneakers are a mess my jean have holes and my hair is all over the place. I feel I’m pretty authentic to who I am and it would be hard to change that. I’d look pretty silly in high heels and a dress on a skateboard.

HVUM: Given that you are young, are you ever concerned that your efforts to build a music career will “disconnect” you from your closest peer group (schoolmates, for example)?

LC: Absolutely not. I get what I have to get done during the week. For example school, lessons and band practice. On the weekends if I’m not performing, I have sleepovers, eat out and go to the mall with my squad. During the summer I spend a few weeks at Woodward which is an extreme sports camp for skateboarders, BMX bikers, and cheer.

HVUM: Do you get nervous before you perform in public or does it just come naturally to you?

LC:When I was younger I did. Not now, it’s just what I do and I look forward to doing it.

HVUM: What is your most memorable moment as a musician? Do you have an experience you’d like to forget? Can you tell us about it?

LC: My most memorable moments are when someone special surprises me and comes to one of my shows.

HVUM: What are your primary social causes or interests?

Lexy3
LC: I’m very involved in Autism Awareness and have spent several Sundays playing at a local Café the employs young adults with developmental disabilities. I support Paws of A Cause and Long Island Domestic Violence Awareness. I also helped raise money for Stony Brook Children’s Hospital here on Long Island.

HVUM: Is there anything you’d like to add to the interview? Anything we’ve missed?

LC: Yes. Recently I’ve started a band called ELISA. It stands for East Long Island Skate Agenda. I have an amazing guitarist Andrew Friedman, cool David Wolfsohn on bass and hitting the drums is Peter Leonardo. We all immediately clicked from our first time we played together I think it’s because we’re all skaters.. We have a great vibe and energy and we’re starting to record our own songs, have booked several shows and a TV interview and just love to hang together and be real.
This month I started a job as a DJ on Radio Buzz 101 Real Alternative. I’m on Sunday from12am-2am and my goal is to bring some attention to the hardworking local bands out there.

Lexy, thanks so much for taking time with us! You’ve got a lot of talent and energy to make things happen. We wish you all the very best of luck and success. Let’s stay in contact going forward. Again, thank you.

Visit Lexy at Facebook and YouTube


Maria Taylor

Maria Taylor
In the Next Life
Flower Moon

The Birmingham Alabama-born singer-songwriter has released her sixth solo album. The tracks are generally mellow and warm. Taylor’s dreamy voice makes this album well worth the time.

Visit Maria Taylor at Facebook and iTunes

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