Communion Residency in DC Featured Artists: Conrad Sewell, Freedom Fry & CLARA-NOVA

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For those unfamiliar, Communion is a label founded by artists — Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons fame, Kevin Jones from Bear’s Den, and producer Ian Grimble. One of the unique platforms they offer for new artists is called Communion Residency, in which they host a monthly, multi-genre showcase of local, national and international emerging talent. This September they’re expanding to 11 US markets, including a stop at DC’s Jammin Java. The lineup for the September 11 show includes Conrad Sewell, Freedom Fry and Clara-Nova. To encourage everyone in the area (or one of the other host cities) to support this innovative medium for music discovery, we’ve provided a mini-preview of what these respective artists have to offer below.

Conrad Sewell is a 25-year-old singer-songwriter and new talent who hails from Australia. Fans of music producer Kygo will recognize him as the voice of his single “Firestone,” co-written by Sewell. Check it out below.

Another talent currently making a name for themselves is French/American duo Freedom Fry, who were ranked in the “100 Emerging Artists from SXSW” list on Spotify and had a #1 single on The Hype Machine this past year. For a sample of their sound, stream “Break Into a Musical” below. According to bandmates Bruce and Marie, the track is about “someone looking back on a failed relationship and remembering how they used to sing silly songs together, and now that memory is fading out. It’s actually a sad song with a happy sounding chorus.” Nonetheless, most of their songs are fairly upbeat so don’t be too disheartened.

Last but not least, the artist we’re probably most excited about sharing from the lineup is CLARA-NOVA. The name and concept for LA songstress Sydney Wayser sprung from her subconscious, in the form of a dream. Clara-Nova is essentially a distillation of all the qualities Wayser wished to possess: “She’s the newer version of myself. She’s a hybrid between Athena, Joan of Arc and Aphrodite. She’s a power woman, but still really feminine.”

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Wayser’s debut single, “An Island” is a sprightly treasure of a tune with a backing track that keeps you guessing. She also has an EP in the works which was produced in part by Shawn Everett (known for his work with Alabama Shakes, Weezer and Julian Casablancas). Drawing inspiration from a diverse array of sources such as deep sea dance parties, ancient Egyptian ritual and Martian folklore, the new EP is sure to be one to watch out for. Better yet, go see her perform the tracks live before her stardom usurps her stage persona.

Tennis – I’m Callin’

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As Tennis get ready to release their third album, Ritual in Repeat, the husband-wife duo have dropped a couple of tracks in anticipation, including “I’m Callin'” and “Never Work For Free.” Although both songs exhibit the usual effervescent dreampop characteristics we’ve come to love about the Denver-based pair, they sound more ebullient than ever on the new tracks. The springy chorus of their single “I’m Callin'” recalls the early pop sensibilities of Madonna’s first album (so what’s not to like)? Heck, even their website is a super fun exercise in nostalgia (involving an interactive spray can that reminds me of digital design software from the 90s).

The forthcoming LP — produced by Patrick Carney (The Black Keys), Jim Eno (Spoon), and Richard Swift (The Shins) — is due out September 9 via Communion. Listen to both new tracks below.

Tennis embark on their fall tour next month, making a stop at DC’s Black Cat September 25.