Riding on soulful vocals and picked up in the second half by woodwind flourishes, “Texas” is about loneliness and redemption, the soundtrack to a pause for some much needed reflection. The Portland, OR-based act Maxwell Cabana was born in a hazy ‘02 Corolla, in the parking lot of a fried chicken joint up in Seattle. It was there that his journey began, and with a basket of chicken and a mix CD of classic Soul tunes, he got to work. Nowadays, his psychedelic R&B quartet includes Seattle native Murray McCulloch on guitar and vocals, Portland's own Noah Puggarana on keys, and Chicago-born brothers Sean and Jamie Higgins on bass and drums, respectively.
Years in the making, Maxwell’s band began to take shape in early 2016, when Murray McCulloch approached Sean and Jamie Higgins with the concept for the project. The three had played together before in the funky hip-hop outfit Sack Lunch, along with frequent collaborator HB, so they knew the chemistry was already there. Soon afterwards, the three began writing and rehearsing their first material in a damp North Portland basement.
After releasing their first project, a self-titled EP recorded at Cloud City Sound Studios in Portland, the band met keyboardist Noah Puggarana, whose soulful melodies and heady harmonies seemed to effortlessly fill in spaces that the music didn’t even know it had. Since then, Maxwell Cabana and his band have been playing shows around the Portland area, studying, jamming, and refining their sound.
In the summer of 2017, the group linked with producer Joey Cox to record Nothing Changed, their forthcoming release. The EP combines the group's love for old-school R&B and Soul with an affinity for Jazz, Hip-Hop and psychedelia. Maxwell Cabana’s influences range from Tim Maia to Madlib, Donny Hathaway to Gorillaz, and beyond.
Take the purity and resonance of Hozier and pair it with the soulful grit of Son Little. Entitled ’Sons & Daughters’ it is a refreshing throwback to the glory days of Motown, but with a unique modern indie pop interpretation. The single has already had the seal of approval from audio guru Brian Lucey (The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys) who worked on their album.
About the name of the song: "Sons & Daughters" is the encapsulation of perseverance in the name of change. An attempt to not only survive in the modern world, but to live and flourish. Despite the madness of the times, positive encouragement and reinforcement light the way towards a brighter future. Now is the time to break the chains of yesterday's mistakes and free ourselves with today's knowledge. We are all sons and daughters navigating our ways through life with more similarities between us than differences. Rejoice in these similarities, share the music, spread the love, and know that we will persevere”.
Sound x 3 Records is pleased to announce the worldwide digital release of 'Old Soul New World' by California neo souland indie pop writer and recording artist, John Klezmer aka “Klez” in fall 2017. 'Old Soul New World' is the explosive and aptly titled second EP of Klez, whose music lies somewhere in the nebulous middle of the soul spectrum. Take the purity and resonance of Hozier and pair it with the soulful grit of Son Little, and you get Klez. Old Soul New World is a refreshing throwback to the glory days of Motown. It is Klez unchained and ready to steal the anthems of summer. The EP was recorded in the Bay Area; mixed in Northern California and mastered by audio guru, Brian Lucey (The Black Keys, Artic Monkeys, and Cage the Elephant) at Magic Gardens Mastering in Los Angeles.
"Countless Ways" is a song of loss, a performance where the empty RSVP seats in a concert hall are lovers lost to memory. “Don’t pick up when I call” is that one-sided ending we all know too well. “Like you somehow appear” as a ghost, a phantom limb, that empty expectation of an impossible return as if from the dead.
The song divides into two major parts. In the first, the narrator goes from a dark longing to attempting acceptance: “I hope that you’re well” -- but your photos “can and do tell me that you’re longing”. By that halftime switch in the middle. we are cast far away as if in the audience ourselves being told to sing along.
"Sing it to the empty seats / When we sing they’re not gone."
Here he seems to come to full terms with the loss, the changes after a relationship are internalized and mutual. The song would conclude. but instead it pretty much starts over, but this time the duration is shorter, paralleling the process of acceptance.
In the age of social media we have “countless ways” to miss someone, to drive ourselves into the past with repetition and longing. Loss has never been harder, more public, more ruminative..
Brooklyn-based Trevor Gittelman has always had a revivalist sensibility, starting by singing for a classic/alt-rock cover band at 14 favoring music by Zeppelin, Radiohead and Muse. He had a knack for imitation but developed a more personal tenor style through college. His music production studies began during chronic illness in high school and college, the time he would spend alone recovering was also spent learning about sound design, arrangement and composition. Studying music composition and working with film scores he developed minimalist electronic music and dense psychedelic/hard rock in his home studio.
Gittelman gathered an ensemble around the solo project Van Vega in early 2014 and won Hofstra University’s battle of the bands. This performance with Phony Ppl and X Ambassadors gained the band a following, but inner band conflict caused the group to split. Van Vega has reformed in its third incarnation today but the vast solo productions accumulated over that long hiatus is now being released and performed as the one man show known as Trevor Forrest.
Gittelman's performances range from minimal acoustic to maximalist laptop productions. He uses a TC Helicon Voicelive 3 to achieve harmonies live and uses looping to create dense arrangements. His performances are intimate, psychedelic, and wide-ranging in style.
Folk/soul singer/songwriter Nora Rothman recently announced her debut self-titled EP, set for release on July 21, 2017, introducing her emotive performance style with a live studio version of her original track, "Judy Garland," followed by her spine-tingling song, "Note to My Ex Lover." Today, Rothman is back with a new single and official music video for "Truth or Dare," a sweet ukulele melody about the games we play with love. The video features behind-the-scenes footage of Rothman setting up to film a live performance on her fire escape and taking a detour along the way. In fact, Rothman & videographer Tommy Ufland were actually trying to film a live version of "Truth or Dare," but there was an unforeseen festival happening on her block. Since they couldn't film with the noise from the street, they took their camera down to the festival and joined. It turned out to be a leather bear convention and live rock show, giving the video a unique story behind it.
Hailing from Hollywood nobility as the daughter of Tom Rothman (Chairman, Sony Pictures Entertainment) and Jessica Harper (Actress), it was inevitable that indie singer/songwriter Nora Rothman would find herself fully immersed in all things music and entertainment. At three she laid down her first recording, at eleven she wrote her first song, and at sixteen she played her first professional show. Finding a relief in music while struggling with an anxiety disorder, Rothman immersed herself in songwriting and vocal studies as she channeled her contemporary rawness and pop sensibility into acoustic, 70s-esque arrangements. Now at 26, Rothman has more experience under her belt than most. After graduating from Brown University with honors in Creative Writing, she picked up a ukulele, and settled into her unique soulful folk sound while simultaneously appearing as an actress on stage and screen. As a professional vocalist, Rothman soloed at the KJazz Fall Benefit Concert, toured through Italy, played at the inaugural Life is Beautiful Festival in Vegas, and collaborated with visionary director Nathan Kim on their video "Strange // Humanshapes." As an actress, Rothman has starred in Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and acclaimed indie film, Hunky Dory.
A singer-songwriter with a singular folk soul sound, Rothman finds a home somewhere in between the deep vocals of Sarah Vaughan, poetic lyrics of Joni Mitchell, and honest musicality of Frank Ocean. An avid feminist and political voice, Rothman moved to Boulder, CO working as a field organizer for the Hillary Clinton campaign and after a six month hiatus, returned to music to release her self-titled debut EP this summer. Recorded at The Fortress LA in downtown Los Angeles, the EP will feature three spine-tingling tracks that highlight Rothman's dynamic vocal range and intimate songwriting. All songs on the EP were written and arranged by Nora Rothman and produced by Grammy-nominated Felix McTeigue (Radio Perfecto, Florida Georgia Line), Drew Guido (Ingrid Michelson, Sara Bareilles),and Nora Rothman. The EP was mixed by Drew Guido, mastered by Amar Lal, and engineered by Adam Lathrum and Brian Harris
On Saturday, May 20, multi-instrumentalist and lauded bass player Erik Kramer released his debut studio endeavor, an EP entitled ‘Missed the Boat.’ The Brooklyn-based musician has an especially eclectic sound, one that employs the talent of a slew of musicians: saxophone, trombone, viola, trumpet, back-up vocalists - they’re all there. An experimental record through and through, ‘Missed the Boat’ is an indie record quite unlike anything else that’s come across my desk in recent months.
The most unique quality ‘Missed the Boat’ boasts is its ability to effortlessly hop between genres, all while maintaining an aura of cohesiveness. It’s very difficult to be an artist that pulls influence from so many sonic avenues and keep your sound organized, and Kramer does this remarkably well. The titular track, which opens the EP, has a very Radiohead-infused sound. The soft vocal croons, funky bass riffs, and erratic brass sections all sound like they’re from a ‘King of Limbs’ session.
The following track has much more of a jazz influence, offering a rather beautiful soundscape of piano noodling accented by a fantastic string section. If New York experimental music was written for a late night jazz club, ‘Seagulls’ would be the song that would result from it. ‘One of Many,’ the track after that, is a tune that really lets the brass section shine. There’s more funk and fusion influence apparent on that song, and the more upbeat nature of the track gives Kramer more room to experiment as a vocalist.
The EP’s most easy-listening track is surely ‘Tell You Otherwise,’ a sublime listening experience that washes over the listener in a surreal fashion. The equally enigmatic lyricism matches the instrumentation beautifully, as does the sparse, but effective female vocal backing. Heavy jazz inspiration then returns for ‘The Way It Goes,’ exhibiting some of the collection’s most excellent musicianship.
The finale of the EP, ‘The Light,’ may be its strongest song, at least, lyrically. The story-like lyricism puts the vocal content at the forefront of the song, whereas the rest of the EP usually reverses that dichotomy. At this point, it’s also very much worth mentioning that the production on ‘Missed the Boat’ is incredibly good, too, and Kramer has a superb hand over such a large soundscape of musicians.
‘Missed the Boat’ is an excellent EP from beginning to end, defying genre by jamming together funk, jazz, and experimental influences. It does it in an unpretentious fashion, too, which is rather vital to success in this arena.
Orellana is a neo-classical/post-rock collective hailing from Bristol, UK. Their new album “52”, released in late December, brought in the new year with it’s explosive and intricate sound. The project’s music transcends genre definitions in order to focus on a broad, diverse concept that is more emotional than tangible. This particular release is full of rich and diverse arrangements, but it is also a powerful exercise in minimalism, one that showcases the strength of very few notes placed in the right spots. The simplicity of the arrangement is actually one of the strongest aspects of this entire release: there’s a palpable stillness created by the long, drone notes in the background, which almost makes you feel like the world is happening in slow motion. When the chords and notes change, it feels quite monumental due to the beautiful contrast between the stillness of the background textures and the expressive sound of the guitar-based melodies.
Davenport Rex is a music project based in Detroit, Michigan. Their sound is diverse and challenging, yet accessible and appealing. The band’s music stands out as a combination of tasteful progressive rock, with shades of various influences, ranging from alternative to symphonic hard rock, just to mention a few.